Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving and a recipe for dressing too!

So when it comes to Thanksgiving and the other holidays I stay pretty true to tradition and include the usual turkey, stuffing and the rest of the goodies.

I got hooked on Ina Garten's "Herb Roasted Turkey" Breast a few years ago and its a staple. Why? Well its is absolutely phenomenal to start and there is no carcass left to deal with the day after (no one in my house 'cept me is a dark meat eater). For cranberry sauce I absolutely love Nigella's "Redder than Red" cranberry sauce...who knew a shot of cherry brandy could do so much for a simple sauce.

Years ago, 21 to be precise as a wedding gift my dear friend in Minnesota sent me a wild rice cook book and there I got hooked on the stuff. Cranberry, wild rice are a perfect combo fresh from the northern swamps and quite tasty together. I got the wild idea I don't know how many years ago to include cooked wild rice in my stuffing. It with cranberry give the stuffing a nice nutty and tart taste all at the same time.

Wild rice is an aquatic grass native to the Northern US and has a nice nutty flavor and slightly chewy texture when cooked right. You do have to cook it longer than regular rice to get through the thick hull. Under cook it and its like chewing on gravel, something you really don't want in stuffing. The age of the rice and how long it was roasted affects cooking time and how much water it needs to cook properly. Pay close attention to the directions on this one.

Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffing
1 12 oz box seasoned stuffing mix
1 can chicken broth
1/2 c wild rice
1/2 c dried cranberry
1 c chopped celery
1 c chopped onion
1 t sage, divided
1 T garlic - minced
1/2 c butter (1 stick)
1 egg

Place broth, wild rice and 1/2 t sage in sauce pot. Bring to boil then reduce heat to barely a simmer. Simmer 1 hour covered, stirring occasionally. Add additional water if the rice absorbs too much and starts to look dry. At the end of the hour, turn off the heat and allow the rice to steep another hour until cool. (I usually make the rice the day before the stuffing). Strain out the rice reserving what cooking liquid is left.

Dice the celery and onion. Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until butter starts to sizzle. Add the onion, celery and 1/2 sage. Salt and pepper to taste. Saute until onion is translucent, add garlic and cook one minute longer.

In large mixing bowl add dry stuffing mix. Add cooled drained wild rice and cranberry and toss lightly. Add onion mixture and toss lightly again. Take reserved cooking liquid and enough water to measure 2 cups. Stir egg into the cooking mixture then pour evenly over stuffing mixture. Toss lightly until evenly moistened.

Use as stuffing or pour into large casserole dish and bake 1 hour at 325F

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