Wild Rice Dressing

If you love wild rice, check out this wonderful turkey dressing recipe from Hank Shaw. So good! ~Elise

I’ve always been a fan of wild rice, and yes, I know it’s not actually a rice, nor, for the most part, is it wild. It’s an edible grass, and most of what we eat is farmed from the Upper Midwest to California, although real wild rice can be had if you look. Wild rice is nuttier, firmer and murkier-tasting than white or brown rice—perfect for game, especially turkey. And what better way to serve wild rice with turkey than as a dressing?

I say dressing because I am not a huge fan of stuffing a turkey, or any other bird for that matter. But if you want to stuff a bird with this, feel free. I bake mine outside the bird as it cooks.

Most wild rice stuffings rely solely on wild rice as the starch, but that results in a too-dense stuffing, to my mind. So I leaven the rice mixture with regular bread croutons. Nuts (walnuts or pine nuts work best) add crunch, cranberries, acidity and sweetness, and some sautéed mushrooms bring even more of that dusky, forest-floor flavor to the party.

Serve this with any turkey dish, other game birds such as pheasant, or with venison, beef or bison—anywhere you want to up the “wild game” feel to your food.

  • Prep: 10 minutes
  • Cook: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8 as a side dish

If you can't find dried cranberries, use fresh ones and add 2-3 tablespoons of sugar to the mix. It's just as good.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups wild rice
  • Salt
  • 3/4 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1-2 Tbsp fresh sage, minced
  • 4 cups bread croutons
  • 2 cups chicken, vegetable or turkey stock

Method

1 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add the wild rice. Cover, turn the heat to low and simmer until the rice is tender, about 25 minutes or so.

2 Preheat the oven to 350°F.

3 As the rice is cooking, heat a large sauté pan on high for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and shake the pan a little so they don't stick. Dry sauté the mushrooms, stirring often, until the release their water. When most of the water has burned off, sprinkle salt over the mushrooms, add 3 Tbsp of the butter, onion and celery and toss to combine. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring often.

4 Drain the rice when it is tender (most of the grains will have split by then) and add the rice to the sauté pan. Turn off the heat and add the sage, croutons, dried cranberries and walnuts. Sprinkle a little more salt over everything. Stir to combine.

5 Put the dressing into a large, oven-proof pot with a lid and dot with the remaining butter. Add the chicken stock, cover and bake for 45 minutes. If you want, take the cover off for the last 15 minutes to brown the top.

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