Halloween Rice

2 Cups Uncooked Wild Rice

3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil

1 Small Yellow Onion, Chopped

3 Large Cloves Garlic, Minced

1 Teaspoon Black Mustard Seeds

1/2 - 1 Small Chili Pepper, Finely Minced, or 1/4 - 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Red Pepper Flakes

1/2 Teaspoon Hot Paprika

4 Ounces (About 4 Large) Cremini or Button Mushrooms, Roughly Chopped

1/2 Cup Vegetable Stock

2 Tablespoons Mirin

1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar

1 1/2 Pounds Peeled and Diced Sweet Potatoes (About 3 Cups)

1 14-Ounce Can (1 1/2 Cups Cooked) Black Beans, Rinsed and Drained

1/2 Teaspoon Salt, or to Taste

The most time-consuming part of this recipe is simply cooking the rice, so it's best to get that out of the way early. Heat about 2 quarts of water in a medium-sized stock pot, and bring to a boil.  Add the wild rice, reduce the heat slightly, and simmer at a brisk bubble for 45 - 60 minutes, until the grains are beginning to split and are tender enough to eat. Now, just like pasta, drain out the excess water, and set side the cooked rice.  The rice can be made a day or two in advance, as long as it's stored in an air-tight container in the fridge.

In the same stock pot (or one larger) melt the coconut oil and coat the bottom of the pot with it before tossing in the chopped onion.  Saute over medium heat until softened and translucent; about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic, and cook for another 5 minutes or so, until everything is starting to take on an amber hue around the edges. Stir in the mustard seeds, pepper or pepper flakes, paprika, and chopped mushrooms, stirring frequently and cooking for an additional 3 - 5 minutes, until the mushroom has reduced in size and the spices are aromatic.

To prevent burning, quickly add in the stock, mirin, and vinegar, stir well, and follow with the chunks of sweet potato.  The liquid won't completely cover everything, so don't panic. Turn down the heat to a steady simmer, cover loosely with the lid, and keep stirring the mixture every few minutes, until the sweet potatoes are fork-tender. This could take anywhere from 20 - 30 minutes, so be patient.  The excess liquid should be mostly if not completely evaporated by now.

Mix in the cooked wild rice, cook over low heat for a few minutes to re-warm, and season with salt to taste.  Serve immediately.

Serves 8 - 12 as a Side; 4 - 6 as a Main

©Hannah Kaminsky http://www.bittersweetblog.com