Having grown up in the land of 10,000 lakes (4x°N latitude / 9x°W longitude) and being a devoted fan of wild rice, I am surprised that the first time I heard of Mahnomin Porridge was just a few days ago. What have I been missing?!
The recipe creator, Chef Mitch Omer, was inspired by reading journals written by trappers in the 19th century. The primary ingredient of this comfort food is wild rice, which is really not a rice at all, but a grass. It grows in small lakes and slow moving streams. The Ojibwa culture calls the plant, manoomin, meaning “good berry”. The traditional labor intensive harvesting methods are still practiced today. Wild rice is high in protein, fiber, and, like other rice, is gluten-free. Consumer demand resulted in commercially grown and harvested varieties. This commercial variety takes much longer to cook than naturally grown types. I embarked on the Mahnomin Porridge recipe this morning, making one modification (with much respect for the creator). I continue to be focused on low fat and healthy eating, so I could not bring myself to use heavy cream, as indicated in the original recipe.
4 cups cooked wild rice
¼ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup dried blueberries
¼ cup dried cranberries
½ cup roasted, cracked hazelnuts
1 cup heavy cream *
* low fat alternative: substitute heavy cream with 25% fat free milk and 75% fat free sour cream
In a heavy non-stick sauté pan, add the cooked wild rice, heavy cream, and maple syrup, and warm through. Add the blueberries, dried cranberries, and hazelnuts. Stir to mix well.
Serve in a bowl with sides of warm heavy cream and maple syrup.
Even without the heavy cream, this was scrumptious, and satisfying! Even without the heavy cream, this was scrumptious, and satisfying! I reduced the recipe to approximately 25%, starting with 1/4 cup of dry wild rice. I put the finished mixture in an 8 ounce ramekin and was content with 2/3 of that portion.
Do drain the cooked wild rice well. Otherwise, simmer the mixture longer to evaporate the excess liquid. Roasting the hazelnuts (or filberts) is key. The final result is a fantastically rich combination of nutty, crunchy, savory, and sweet.
I did use sweetened dried cranberries and sweetened dried blueberries, since they were the simplest to find. I will search for unsweetened varieties next time I make this, as it was a bit sweet. The blueberries really added to the overall flavor, offering a nice contrast to the cranberries. One could experiment with various dried fruits and nuts – perhaps apricots, almonds. I’ll try cinnamon, too.
Chef Omer now has a cookbook called “Damn Good Food,” which features favorite Hell’s Kitchen recipes – Bison Sausage Bread, Lemon-Ricotta Hotcakes, Mahnomin Porridge (of course) – and his stories.
Tangled Noodle on Mahnomin Porridge http://tanglednoodle.blogspot.com/2009/09/mmm-mmm-mahnomin-porridge.html
Hell’s Kitchen Minneapolis http://hellskitcheninc.com/