Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; swirl to coat. Add leek, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; sauté 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 3 cups water, chicken broth, and wild rice; cover. Increase heat to high; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Stir in brown rice; cover and simmer 30 minutes. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 400°.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter over high heat in a large skillet; swirl to coat. Add turnip, celery, carrot, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; saute 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium; cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
Combine rice mixture, turnip mixture, pecans, cherries, and onions in a large bowl. Spoon stuffing into a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Cover with foil; bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
I tested this out pre-Thanksgiving this year. While we thought it was very good (we served with grilled chicken tonight) the family cannot get past a rice stuffing - so vetoed. But don't let that stop you from trying it. I love all the flavors in this and it feeds a crowd! Easy to put together ahead and then bake to heat before serving. I will definitely make this again.
I have made this a few times. (1st time I loved using rice blend for brown rice; 2nd time was ho-hom, and this year amazing again!) I use EVOO for the butter, veggie broth for chicken broth and this year added a couple of tablespoons of red quinoa with the brown rice - make sure to brown rinse rice & quinoa a lot before adding to make it not have bitter/earthy/chalk-like flavor. I definitely prefer it when I add something beyond brown rice with the wild rice. Usually decrease the cooking time of wild rice to 20 minutes and brown rice to 20ish minutes and baking time for 10-15 minutes. This year, for vegan Thanksgiving dish, after cooked I stuffed in a sugar pumpkin that I had cooked separately (s&p and veggie broth and a few sprigs of thyme in the cleaned cavity, evoo on outside to give beautiful burnished color to pumpkin - dump out broth before stuffing) and then could bake rice inside for final step. Gorgeous presentation and yummy! It makes A LOT,
This recipe has potential, but really needs something to make it great. I served it with roast goose for Christmas dinner and the feedback was pretty ho-hum. Not bad, but not the kind of wildly delicious side dish for your holiday bird. At this time, it is really just a fancy rice pilaf and nothing more.
It is worth working with, and I will be doing some tweaking and testing during the coming year to see if it can be brought up to the standard required of a first rate holiday recipe that is worthy of a once a year treat.
The first thing I plan to do is lower the porportion of rice to veggies to make it a more low carb choice. I might even change the grain to wild rice and quinoa. Next, I will add some kind of sausage to the mix to increase the protien content of the dish. We usually roast a goose for Christmas, and they don't really have much meat. I also think it could use more fruit, like pears or oranges.
Will post again next year to report on the progress.
I tested this recipe in anticipation of the coming holidays. The favors were clean and healthy, but it needed salt and spice (and maybe gravy). I used cherry infused craisins (dried cranberries) because I couldn't find dried cherries, and added more fresh thyme, to its benefit. However, it was more like a nice rice side-dish than a stuffing. Although I served it with marinated turkey tenderloin and mashed sweet potato, I will be going with a traditional cornbread stuffing for Thanksgiving. Tasty, but not for my Thanksgiving dinner.
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