Stuffing is the favorite part of our turkey feast every year – it seems to always be the one dish everyone wants more of. I’m a fan of the traditional bread-onion-celery-sage stuffing, but am always lured by the option to add sausage, pecans, apples, and different types of bread – cornbread and raisin bread make a delicious stuffing base, as do various grains such as rice and quinoa, particularly if you’re looking for a gluten-free option. I recently gave this brown and wild rice stuffing a go, and it was delicious – cooked inside the bird or not.
This is perfect now that apples are in season (or swap pears); the addition of nuts and dried fruit makes it extra festive. Made with vegetable stock, it’s also an ideal dish for any vegetarians at the dinner table.
Brown & Wild Rice Stuffing with Apples, Cranberries and Pecans
6 cups water
1 cup wild rice
1 cup brown rice
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter, melted, or olive or canola oil
1 large onion, diced
4-5 stalks celery, diced (include the leaves if there are any)
2 apples, diced
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh sage, or 1 1/2 tsp. dried
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp. dried
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 cup dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots or a combination
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan; add rice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until rice is tender and most grains are split open, about 45-50 minutes. Drain well in a colander.
Heat the butter or oil in a large skillet and sauté the onion and celery, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the apples and cook for a few more minutes, until they begin to soften. Stir in the sage, thyme, pepper, and remaining salt and cook for a few more minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with rice, dried cranberries and pecans.
Use the stuffing to stuff a turkey, or put it in a buttered baking dish that will accommodate it (a 9”x13” pan will work too), drizzle with the broth, cover and bake at 450°F for about half an hour. Uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until browned. Serves 6-8.