A Savvy Single Right Hand Man?

13 Nov

A slow cooker can be your right-hand man in the kitchen. Any working woman, any dinner party hostess, any weekend athlete will find a slow cooker an indispensable tool. A slow cooker is a fantastic option for taking a dish to a potluck or when all your burners/oven are occupied with other dishes. Tucked into a corner of your counter, the slow cooker works away quietly while you go about all your other business.

Crockpot Mixed Rice Pilaf

If you plan to acquire one, I’d highly recommend buying one with a flexible timer/temperature feature and an automatic shift to “Keep Warm.” The latter option is a godsend if you get stuck in rush hour traffic or at a hockey game that goes into double overtime.

The trick to a glorious relationship with your slow-cooker is to find reliable AND tasty recipes. It has been my experience that acquiring good slow-cooker recipes may, like finding your soul-mate, require much ‘frog kissing.’  Crockpot Mixed Rice Pilaf (from www.busycooks.com) is a keeper.

I made this recipe as the grain side dish for a recent dinner party. It makes between 6 – 8 servings, which freezes well. A combination of wild rice, whole grain rice and Portobello mushrooms this pilaf delivers a creamy, earthy taste. The rice doesn’t come out fluffy and firm but has a texture closer to risotto. The recipe suggests using a 3 – 4 quart-sized (3.4L – 4.5L) slow cooker. I’ve developed the habit of spraying the ceramic liner with oil to make the clean-up of ‘sticker’ recipes easier (e.g. rice pilaf, rice pudding, BBQ ribs, baked beans).

Wild & whole grain brown rice mix, sliced Portobello mushrooms, cream of mushroom soup, water and pepper. And a Savvy best friend — a slow cooker!

Measure out 3/4 cup (175 mL) of wild rice and ½ cup ( 125 mL) of long grain brown rice, place in a sieve and rinse well under cold water. Allow to drain. I used 1.25 cups (315 mL) of an organic wild rice and whole grain brown rice mix sold under the brand name Lundberg Wild Blend.

Wipe ½ lb (225 g) [or more] of Portobello mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Remove their stems and slice the caps into 1″ slices.

Pour in water & stir to combine.

In the insert place the rinsed rice, the sliced mushrooms, 1½ cups (750 mL) water, 1/8 teaspoon (0.45mL) ground black pepper and 1 – 10 oz ( 28 mL) can of cream of mushroom soup with roasted garlic. I used low sodium canned soup. The meat dish of my dinner party contained lots of garlic, so I used a plain mushroom soup. Stir well to combine.

Cover with lid and cook on Low for 6 – 7 hours.

Cover and cook on Low for 6 – 7 hours or until the rice and Portobello are tender. I used a larger slow cooker and found my pilaf cooked before 6 hours. At the 3-hour mark, the mushroom slices had floated to the top of the mixture. I quickly removed the slow cooker lid, stirred the mixture well and covered again to continue cooking.

Generally speaking you shouldn’t be lifting the lid during a slow-cooking period. The recipes are designed with just enough liquid to cook properly with a tight seal from the lid. Lifting the lid can allow too much steam to escape and ruin the finished dish. However, in this case I knew from previous experience that the pilaf tended to be quite wet, so I wasn’t worried about a short loss of steam.

Ready for the buffet table.

When the dish is cooked, stir well. I served the pilaf in a pretty pottery casserole dish with a lid. Add some toasted pine nuts or cashews to the top of your serving and you have a hearty vegetarian dish that would be fantastic served with a carrot and raisin salad. This time I made the pilaf to serve with Chicken Marbella, which you will read about in a future post.


3 Responses to “A Savvy Single Right Hand Man?”

  1. Debby Simpson November 13, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    This looks really good. I love my slow cooker. Do you think this recipe would work with other grains too like bulgar etc.?

    • Susan at Savvy Single Suppers November 13, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

      I’m still learning about grains, Debby. And I believe they require special attention when prepared in a slow cooker. I’ve noticed a few relatively inexpensive cookbooks (approx. $20.00 Cdn) dealing with this topic. In Sensational Slow Cooker Gourmet by Judith Finlayson, she offers a number of recipes containing barley. She also wrote The Complete Whole Grains Cookbook, published by Robert Rose, Inc., of Toronto.


  1. Chicken Marbella — The Dependable Wedding Escort « Savvy Single Suppers - November 16, 2012

    […] enjoy Chicken Marbella with a medium bodied red wine, particularly when I serve it with Crockpot Mixed Rice Pilaf. Something with plummy flavours would be an obviously nice […]

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