It’s that time of year again. Cold weather, changing leaves, family gatherings, appreciation for all that life has given us, and of course delicious food. Since starting this blog, my family has kind of handed over the reigns in most everything involving food. First, because I am a little particular about what I put in my body (but you knew that). Second, because I am getting pretty good at this whole cooking and recipe making thing (slowly but surely). And third, because I just absolutely love making food for the people I care about (more on that HERE). So this year, the Thanksgiving torch has official been handed off, and I am so pumped. Pumpkin pie… check. Perfect Turkey…. check. Next up… stuffing!
Now, let’s start out by touching on the subject that this recipe has wild rice in it, in addition to bacon, wild mushrooms (super nutrient-dense), dried organic figs, onions, and all kinds of delicious herbs and spices. Did you know that wild rice is actually a semi-aquatic grass that is the only grain native to North America and has been growing here for millennia. Cool.
There has recently been multiple studies proving that arsenic is found in rice (with much higher amounts found in brown rice than white, incase you need more justification for staying away from all of those “healthy” brown rice syrup filled bars and snacks). The good news is that wild rice isn’t actually rice, which makes this point moot for this recipe, but still important to consider in everyday life.
Moving on, wild rice is a good source of fiber, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, Vitamin B6, and niacin. Plus, it is is high in antioxidants (30x that of white rice). Not all wild rice is treated equal, though, so be careful where you buy from. Native wild rice has been harvested sustainably by American tribes for centuries, but today (to no surprise) folks are coming in with one incentive: to make money, not caring who or what gets trampled in the process. Thankfully, wild rice is one of the last grains to be corporatized (and hasn’t really been taken over yet). But, please, still do your research before buying. If grown and harvested properly, the wetlands where wild rice is grown provides refuge for communities of animals, plants, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and all kinds of microorganisms.
When harvested properly and grown organically, wild rice is a great addition to a diet for those who are active, healthy, and patient (it takes about an hour to cook). It is, however, a starch that is very high in carbohydrate, so it should be enjoyed sparingly, depending on your goals and dietary needs. In this recipe, the wild rice adds the perfect nutty flavor, perfect texture, and all kinds of flavor. And I am super excited about it, as was my family when they tried it for themselves.
*Edited to add: And now I’ve added sourdough too! This recipe can be made without the bread altogether, but boy, is it a great addition. More to come on my own adventures in sourdough baking. But here’s a hint: it’s going very very well, and I am thrilled to be able to provide a nutrient dense, fermented, organic food for my family. Something about it feels so tribal and ancient, and it’s been a labor of love. Stay tuned for a post on my how to once I get that perfect. Ok, read on friends.
Now, back to family, food, friends, fun, and food. Oh, and if you are reading this and it’s not Thanksgiving, feel free to use it as a delicious pilaf of sorts to pair perfectly with whatever you might enjoy. We’ll be trying it with a grass fed filet this week. Yum.
Here you go! a wild twist on holiday stuffing…
Wild Holiday Stuffing
WHAT YOU NEED:
- 3 tablespoon grass fed butter + 6 tablespoons for the end
- 6-8 slices thick cut pastured bacon
- 1 large organic onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 3 cups assorted wild mushrooms, sliced
- 4 TB chopped fresh thyme
- 2 cups homemade bone broth + 3 cups for the end
- 1 cup filtered water
- 4 tsp chopped fresh sage
- 2/3 cup wild rice
- 1 1/2 cup coarsely chopped organic dried figs
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 small loaf of sourdough bread (try Bread SRSLY if gluten free)
WHAT YOU DO:
- bring broth, wild rice, 2 TB thyme, and 2 tsp sage to boil in large saucepan
- reduce heat, cover and simmer about 50 min until all rice is tender and liquid is absorbed
- set oven to 350F, slice bread into small 1 inch cubes, and toast on a baking sheet until slightly crunchy and golden brown, then remove
- meanwhile, dice your bacon and cook in a cast iron pan until slightly crispy
- add onions, and sauté until tender and caramelized then transfer bacon and onions (grease and all) to large bowl
- melt 2 TB butter in same pot over medium-high heat, add mushrooms and 2 TB thyme, and sauté until mushrooms are deep brown, then add to onion bowl and season with salt and pepper
- add this mixture, plus figs and remaining thyme and sage into your wild rice, cover and simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently
- season with salt and pepper and stir in 1/2 cup parsley
- preheat oven to 400°F and use remaining butter to grease a baking dish
- transfer croutons to baking dish and cover with rice mixture, then toss with hands till evenly mixed
- add remaining butter and broth in a pan and stir until combined, then pour over stuffing evenly so that it’s all covered
- cover baking dish and bake until heated through, about 40 minutes
- uncover and bake until top is slightly crisp and golden, about 20 more minutes
- sprinkle remaining parsley over stuffing and serve
- ENJOY and be thankful
Let me know what you think! What are your favorite Thanksgiving recipes and memories? I would love to read some in comments!