Photos by Rikki Snyder
Thanksgiving probably edges out Christmas for my favorite holiday based solely on the fact that I spend weeks perfecting my menu. Oh, those are delicious days filled with recipe testing and tweaking the sides, salads and desserts—occasionally several types of cranberry sauce or flavored butters. And it all leads up to another fantastic feast of a meal. It’s a beautiful thing, this Thanksgiving we celebrate.
This year I’m making wild rice pilaf. Back before my days of gluten-free eating (four-and-a-half years, to be exact) I wouldn’t have looked twice at a bowl of wild rice pilaf sitting on the buffet table. Stuffing is hard to top as best Thanksgiving side, in my not-so-humble opinion. While I make a really mean gluten-free stuffing, I concede there is plenty of room for more sides in my heart (and stomach). So this year, next to the stuffing, there will be a big bowl of wild rice pilaf.
The best part about this pilaf is that it can be served warm or cold. It can be made several days in advance so it frees up your stovetop for other dishes on the big day. And it’s great leftover, again, warm or cold. Really, isn’t Thanksgiving also about the leftovers? You can take this to work for a yummy, hearty lunch. You can serve it on top of mixed greens. You could add cheese. Everything about it says Thanksgiving and holiday. It’s pretty and full of great fall flavors. It’s just a lovely thing, this wild rice pilaf. I think you’re really going to love it as much as I do.
Tossed with pecans and cranberries and then drizzled with a sage vinaigrette right before serving, this wild rice pilaf is sure to please the palates of everyone at the Thanksgiving table.
- 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups uncooked wild rice mix
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, plus more to taste
- 1 cup shaved (thinly sliced) Brussels sprouts
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
- 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh sage
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
- Set a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and turning golden, 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for another minute, until fragrant.
- Add the wild rice mix to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, until the rice toasts a bit, 2-3 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, bay leaf, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to the pan. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the rice is tender, 30-40 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Brussels sprouts. The residual heat will cause them to wilt. Let cool completely. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Just before serving, stir in the dried cranberries or cherries and chopped pecans.
- Make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk together sage, vinegar, oil and maple syrup. Pour over the rice and give it a quick stir. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if desired.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma's Wild Rice Pilaf with Dried Cranberries and Pecans.