Too often, this American grain resembles mulch and has a taste to match. We figured out how to tame the flavor and turn out properly cooked rice every time. Wild rice goes quickly from tough to gluey, so begin testing the rice at the 35-minute mark and drain the rice as soon as it is tender. Undercooked wild rice is tough and hard to chew. At the other end of the spectrum, overcooked wild rice bursts, revealing the gluey starch concealed beneath the glossy coat. Perfectly cooked wild rice is chewy but tender, the individual grains swollen but intact.
1. Bring chicken broth, bay leaves, and 1 bundle thyme to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add wild rice, cover, and reduce heat to low; simmer until rice is plump and tender and has absorbed most liquid, 35 to 45 minutes. Drain rice in mesh strainer to remove excess liquid. Return rice to now-empty saucepan; cover to keep warm and set aside.
2. While wild rice is cooking, place white rice in medium bowl and cover with 2 inches water; gently swish grains to release excess starch. Carefully pour off water, leaving rice in bowl. Repeat about 5 times, until water runs almost clear. Drain rice in mesh strainer.
3. Heat butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat until foam subsides; about 2 minutes. Add onion, carrot, and 1 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add rinsed white rice and stir to coat grains with butter; cook, stirring frequently, until grains begin to turn translucent, about 3 minutes. Add boiling water and second thyme bundle to rice; return to boil, then reduce heat to low, sprinkle cranberries evenly over rice, and cover. Simmer until all liquid is absorbed, 16 to 18 minutes. Off heat, fluff with rice with fork.
4. Combine wild rice, white rice mixture, pecans, and parsley in large bowl; toss with rubber spatula. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste; serve immediately.
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