Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wild Rice, Chestnut and Cherry Stuffing

I didn't think I could find a holiday stuffing that I like better than cornbread-chorizo or chestnut-cranberry-pear. Especially not one made with rice. I've never used rice in my stuffing, so I thought it might turn out more like a grain salad than a moist, baked, almost meaty stuffing. This recipe even has the distinction of being quite healthy (I adapted it from a Cooking Light recipe): the base is whole grain and, unlike dry bread, the rice does not need extra fat to saturate and bind it.

I could not have been happier with how this turned out! It's rich, flavorful and very stuffing-like. Of all the delicious ingredients (the chestnuts and cherries are fantastic), I think the fresh sage is what gives it the unmistakable taste of Thanksgiving.

I made this for our at-home "fauxgiving" meal. I tried a bunch of new things, with simple roasted Brussels sprouts being the only old favorite on the table. We also had whole roast duck with savory fresh fig sauce and fresh cranberry relish with apple and ginger. So tell me, how is your Thanksgiving prep going?

Wild rice stuffing with chestnuts and cherries
Adapted from Cooking Light, Nov. 2010
My chicken broth had about 550 mg of sodium per serving, so I did not add any salt when cooking the rice. If you use an alternative to commercial broth, salt to taste. I reserved the wine leftover from soaking the cherries to make a fig sauce for duck. It picks up some cherry flavor and would be great for any pan sauce. Use within 24 hours.

Serves 6 (may be doubled and baked in a 9 x 13 dish)

1 1/2 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup wild rice
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dried cherries, halved
1/2 cup red wine or hot water
1 cup whole roasted bottled chestnuts
1 Tbs olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup diced carrot
3/4 cup diced celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbs (packed) finely chopped sage
1 Tbs (packed) finely chopped parsley
1 1/2 Tbs panko

Preheat oven to 400 F. Combine rice and broth in a saucepan, season with pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat 50 minutes (or according to package directions) or until tender. Remove from heat and rest 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

Combine cherries and wine or water in a small bowl and set aside for 20 minutes. Remove cherries with a slotted spoon and add to rice (save cherry-infused wine to cook with if desired). Halve or quarter the chestnuts and add to rice.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and season with salt and black pepper to taste. Cook until tender and lightly browned, stirring often, 15 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook 2 minutes. Add to rice along with sage and parsley and mix well. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.

Lightly coat an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Add rice mixture and sprinkle panko on top. Bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until rice is heated through and edges begin to crisp.

1 comment:

cooking for kids said...

I'm not a very big fan of rice. But I'll try this one. It looks good..