I’ll be the first to admit (Richard Nixon-style, jowls blazing): “I am not a cook.” Yet, I stumbled upon this recipe last year when I was hosting a dinner where a few of the guests had dietary restrictions, and it turned out to be a huge hit! This is one of those lovely “alternative” dishes that seems to please everyone, from Vegan-Gluten-Freebies to that uncle who only eats ham and buns. And thank Birthday-Boy-Baby-Jesus that the taste here far outweighs the difficulty: it is remarkably simple, yet tastes “look-mom-I’m-a-grown-up!” gourmet. Also, with ingredients like dried currants and cherries, making this rice stuffing is the perfect excuse to visit your neighborhood bulk store, and NEED I SAY MORE?!?! (<3 BULK)
*There is also an alternative recipe that involves adding everyone’s favorite pig part: bacon! Ever the chill vegetarian, I’ve included that version below. Nomnomnom you omnivores!!
3 1/2 cups water, divided
1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 cup uncooked wild rice
3 cups diced onions
3 cups diced celery
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon water
1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1 3/4 cups currants
3/4 cup dried cherries
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 ounce dried apricots
1 cup diced, unpeeled apples
1/2 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
6 tablespoons dried mixed herbs (cook’s choice! I used oregano, and celery seed which might not even be considered an herb…)
Salt and pepper, to taste
How to make it:
1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring 1 1/2 cups water and the vegetable broth to a boil. Stir in wild rice. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes.
2. In a large, deep skillet, sauté onions and celery with 1 tablespoon water, and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Cook until very soft, about 20 minutes.
3. Stir remaining water, white rice, currants, cherries, cranberries, apricots, and apples into the wild rice. Continue cooking 20 minutes, or until wild rice and white rice are tender.
4. In a large bowl, mix the onion mixture into the rice mixture. Season with the Italian parsley, salt, pepper, and dried mixed herbs.
**4 DA MEAT EATERS:
Between steps #1 and #2: Place 1/3 lbs. bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Reserving drippings, drain bacon, crumble, and set aside. Proceed with the recipe, using bacon drippings in lieu of vegetable oil in step #3. Add crumbled bacon into mixture in step #4.