Wild Rice Casserole
by Jes Mostek
serves: 4
  If you're using this recipe as a main dish, one recipe will yeild 4 servings. But if it's being used as a side dish (one of my favorites for Thanksgiving), then the same amount will be enough for 8-12 people.

This recipe freezes well. Double it for a crowd.

You can substitute ham for the bacon in this recipe. If you do this, I recommend using butter when the recipe calls for bacon grease.

If you're afraid that the nutty flavor of wild rice might be too intense for your family, substitute half of the wild rice for white or brown rice and reduce the water by 2 T.
  1 c.   wild rice, uncooked
  2 c.   chicken stock
  1/2 tsp.   black pepper
  1 tsp.   seasoned salt
  1/2 lb.   bacon, cooked & crumbled
  1 (8 oz.) pkg.   mushrooms
  1 c.   diced celery
  1/4 c.   fresh chopped parsley
  1 (5 oz.) can   water chestnuts, drained & chopped
  1/4 c.   sliced/slivered almonds
  2 (10 oz.) cans   cream of mushroom soup, optional
  1 c.   milk, optional
  Combine the rice with the chicken stock, salt, and pepper. Cook until the rice is tender (see "Rice" recipe on this website for more detailed instructions for this step).

Cook bacon, set aside to cool, but don't drain off the bacon grease. When the bacon is cool to the touch, crumble or cut into 1/2 inch pieces.

Thoroughly wash and then slice the mushrooms. Sauté mushrooms in 2 T. of the reserved bacon grease in a large heavy-bottomed skillet.

Chop the celery, and add them to the mushrooms in the skillet. Sauté mushrooms and celery for 2-5 minutes, until crisp-tender.

Chop the parsley.

Coarsely chop the water chestnuts.

When the rice is almost done, preheat oven to 375°F.

In a casserole dish, combine the cooked rice, crumbled bacon, sautéed mushrooms & celery, parsley and water chestnuts. Top with almonds, if desired. Cover and heat through (about 10-15 minutes in a hot oven). Serve hot.

For a creamier casserole, add your own gravy or make a simple sauce by whisking together cream of mushroom or celery soup and milk.