Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Holiday-worthy recipes, part 1

Wild Rice Pilaf
Yes, it's early to be thinking about what to cook for Thanksgiving and the December holidays, but I made this wild rice dish (with pecans and dried cranberries) last week and thought about how good it would be with chunks of leftover turkey.
Even without the turkey, it turned out quite tasty and we ate it for days, first as a side dish at dinner. The leftovers made a terrific lunch served at room temperature and tossed with pieces of lettuce.

I cooked the rice mix in brewed green tea, just for the kick of it. But you can substitute water or broth as cooking liquid for the rice.

Recipe: Tea-Infused Wild Rice Pilaf
Serves 4-6

3 cups lightly salted water
4 tea bags
1 ½ cups wild rice mix (wild and other rice, boxed)
2 T canola oil
1 leek, chopped
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and black pepper, to taste
½ c chopped pecans
½ c dried cranberries
2 T olive or sesame oil, or one tablespoon of each
¼ cup chopped fresh herbs (tarragon and parsley are nice)
1 – 2 cups bite-size pieces of turkey or chicken (optional)

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the salted water to a boil. Turn off the heat, add the teabags and steep for 5 minutes. Remove the teabags and bring the water back to the boil.
2. Stir in rice, cover and reduce heat to simmer. When rice is tender (about 12-15 minutes), remove from heat and drain off any excess moisture (rice should be fairly dry). Set aside.
3. While the rice is cooking, heat the canola oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add leek, shallot and garlic, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes, until vegetables begin to tenderize.
4. Add rice to the frying pan and stir until heated, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Stir in pecans, cranberries, oils and herbs. Add turkey or chicken, if using, and stir well. Remove to a serving dish or spoon onto plates.

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