Despite wild rice’s name, the majority of it available on supermarket shelves is now actually farmed, cultivated in flooded paddies in California and culled by machine. (Technically, it’s not rice either, but a type of long-grain marsh grass.) Genuine wild rice is still harvested by hand via canoe, mostly by the Ojibwe peoples of Minnesota and Wisconsin. With its softer texture, more nuanced earthy flavor, and shorter prep time, it’s well worth seeking out. Two online sources are Indian Wild Rice and the White Earth Land Recovery Project.
1Place the rice in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water to clean.
2Place the rice and measured water in a medium saucepan with a tightfitting lid and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer undisturbed until the rice has absorbed most of the water and the rice grains have swollen (some may split apart to reveal their white pith), about 30 to 60 minutes. (In general, the longer and darker the kernels of rice are, the longer they need to cook.) If some liquid remains after the rice is done, drain it off. Fluff the rice and cook, uncovered, over low heat to let any excess liquid evaporate, about 1 minute.