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Wild Rice "Stuffing"

Wild rice is a whole grain rich in phenolic compounds (i.e., antioxidants). This gluten-free, rice “stuffing” dish fits perfectly into any holiday or every day meal and can be enjoyed throughout all the colder months. You can change up the vegetables to suit the season and remember to buy organic rice! Because this dish is a bit involved,it’s worth making a large batch for a big family meal. This recipe accomplishes that amount.
The Science -- The journal Foods recently published a nutrient analysis of certified-organic North American wild rice, and revealed that this rice is significantly rich in important antioxidants. Most notably, the carotenoid antioxidant, Lutein, was found in levels similar to those in artichokes, apples and apricots. But, as the authors highlight, wild rice affords an added convenience of providing a good source of these nutrients year-round as rice can be stored longer than its produce contenders.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pecan halves or pieces
  • Rice:
  • 2 cups organic wild rice rinsed
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ lb. crimini or white button mushrooms chopped
  • 1 tsp salt may need to add more to taste depending on the sodium level of your vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • Butternut squash:
  • 1 medium butternut squash peeled and cut into approx. ½ inch cubes
  • ½ - 1 tsp salt depending on size of squash
  • Cooking oil to coat
  • Sautéed kale:
  • 1 bunch kale any type works, washed, stemmed and chopped into 2-inch pieces.
  • ½ tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil

Instructions

  • Start by toasting the pecans. It’s the saddest thing when you lose track and they burn. So, start with the pecans before you dive into the rest of the recipe and get distracted.
  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Spread pecans evenly onto a cookie sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes.
  • Stir occasionally to keep an eye on them and pull out once they start to turn color and smell like they are toasting.
  • Once cool, chop into pieces to sprinkle on top the finished dish.
  • Increase the oven temperature to 400F
  • Spread the cubed butternut squash onto a cookie sheet and toss with salt and oil to evenly coat.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until desired softness when pricked with a fork.
  • While the squash is baking, prepare the rice:
  • In a large frying pan with a lid (enough to hold at least 10 cups), sauté the onion in cooking oil over medium heat until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes and add the garlic. Let garlic sizzle for a bit, but don’t let it turn brown (it becomes bitter once brown) and add the chopped mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms release their liquid and some of that liquid evaporates off. You can add a splash of water to your pan to make steam and accelerate the cooking of the mushrooms.
  • Add the rinsed wild rice to the onion and mushroom mixture. Stir to coat and then add the vegetable stock and salt.
  • Cover and cook over medium heat for about 45 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and starts to puff up, breaking the bran.
  • While the rice cooks, sauté the washed kale in a separate pan with oil and salt.
  • Cook for about 5 minutes or until the desired softness is reached.
  • All components should be complete by the time the rice is done. Mix to combine the squash, kale and rice in a large serving bowl, taste for salt and add more if needed. Top with the toasted pecans and enjoy!