Very seldom do I buy a package of the flavored rice mixes in the store anymore, but when I do it’s the Uncle Ben’s Long Grain & Wild Rice original flavor that I reach for first. It must be those 23 herbs and seasonings that always sound so good!
I finally decided if that was a rice mixture I liked (a lot!), then it was time to see if I could Make My Own. Some internet searching turned up the same recipe over and over, which I soon discovered had one major problem. The recipes I kept finding combined white long grain rice with wild rice and then had you cooking that mixture for about 15 to 20 minutes.
No way does that work.
Wild rice takes almost 50 minutes to cook. My first attempts made me realize that if you just dump wild rice in with the white rice thinking everything is going to be good and dandy after 20 minutes, you’ll be disappointed. The wild rice will be crunchy and undercooked. *Blech*
I puzzled over this little problem for awhile wondering about the best solution. Should I just cook everything for 50 minutes? That probably would’ve worked but I was turned off by the idea that making some rice for dinner was now going to take almost an hour.
Some online info said that buying “cracked” wild rice was the answer. I looked high and low in my local stores and no such thing was to be found.
So I mustered all my brain power and came up with this fix – I precooked the wild rice and froze it.
Now when we want some copycat Uncle Ben’s Rice, I pull a baggie of the cooked wild rice out of my freezer, zap it in the microwave for about 45 seconds to take the chill off, and just add it in to my flavored white rice blend that’s simmering on the stove. Success!
Here’s my method and recipe so you can make your own Uncle Ben’s wild rice mix too.
Precook The Wild Rice
You Will need:
1/2 cup Wild Rice (I used Lundberg Organic Wild Rice)
1 cup Water
Put the water in a saucepan and bring to a boil on the stove. Stir in the wild rice, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Let the wild rice simmer on low heat for 50 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
You should see that the rice has now cracked open so it won’t be hard and crunchy in your recipes.
I divided the cooked rice into four snack size ziploc bags. The 1/2 cup of uncooked wild rice I started with yielded about 3 tablespoons of cooked wild rice per baggie.
Flatten the baggies a bit so you can stack them, and put in the freezer.
Now that you have your wild rice cooked and ready to go, you can use it in the following recipe. This is ramped up version of my basic flavored rice. These are some of the spices I like to use that I think mimic the Uncle Ben’s blend, but you can certainly adjust the spices to your own liking.
My Homemade Version of Uncle Ben’s Rice
You Will Need:
1 cup Water
1 tablespoon Butter
2 teaspoons Chicken Base or Chicken Bouillon Powder
1 teaspoon Dried Parsley
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt
1/2 teaspoon Basil
1/2 teaspoon Rubbed Sage
1/2 teaspoon Celery Salt
1/2 cup Long Grain White Rice
1 packet of Precooked Wild Rice from the instructions above
Combine the water, butter, chicken base or bouillon, and spices in a saucepan and bring to a boil on the stove. Stir in the white rice, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer.
Take a baggie of precooked wild rice from the freezer. Empty the rice from the baggie onto a plate (you may need to break it apart a little bit) and microwave for about 45 seconds.
Then add the wild rice to the mixture that’s simmering on the stove. You can do this either at the beginning of the cooking time or towards the end of the cooking time. It didn’t seem to matter.
Let everything simmer for about 20 minutes or until the white rice has absorbed the liquid.
Remove from the heat, fluff with a fork, and serve.