Suzi's Blog

Thanksgiving Wild Rice Stuffing with Pine Nuts, Dried Apricots, and Fresh Herbs

wild rice

“Our garden herbs are still fresh, right?” I asked.

“Yes,” Suzen said.

“And you love pine nuts, right?”

“What do you want, Brian.” She was now on alert.

“Well, I found this stuffing recipe that uses them and I just thought …”

“Let me see,” she asked and extended her hand for the cookbook I was holding.

“Oh,” she continued, “wild rice. Yum, my favorite.” She handed me back the book.

She is not a fan of wild rice. I am. We will not be cooking this stuffing this year, or probably any other. Normally, I don’t blog a recipe Suzen and I haven’t tested, but this comes from Diane Morgan, so we know this recipe will work. I know this recipe will be delicious. I just hope that someone, somewhere is able to enjoy what I am not. If you’d just like to drop me a note telling me how wonderful it was, well, that would give me some satisfaction.

I have to stop blogging now. I have bread crumbs to make. For stuffing. I wonder if I can cut them into the shape of little rice grains?

Wild Rice Stuffing with Pine Nuts, Dried Apricots, and Fresh Herbs

Yield: serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups wild rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • ¾ cup dried apricots, quartered
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion (about 8 ounces), finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
  • ½ cup minced fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground pepper

Preparation:

In a medium saucepan, combine the rice, stock, and 1/4  teaspoon of the salt, and add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.

Reduce the heat to a simmer, partially cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender, about 40 minutes. (Not all of the liquid will be absorbed.)

Meanwhile, place a small, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When it is hot, but not smoking, add the pine nuts. Stirring constantly, toast them until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool.

Place the dried apricots in a small bowl, add hot water to cover, and allow to plump for 20 minutes. Drain and reserve.

In a 10-inch sauté pan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Swirl to coat the pan and sauté the celery, carrots, and onion until soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme, sage, and parsley and sauté 1 more minute. Remove from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. When the rice is tender, add the sautéed vegetable mixture to the rice. Add the reserved pine nuts and apricots, and stir to combine. Add the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Use the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to grease an oven-to-table casserole dish. Spoon in the rice stuffing and cover. Twenty minutes before serving, bake the stuffing until heated through. (The stuffing can be made up to 1 day in advance. Refrigerate, covered, and bring to room temperature 1 hour before baking. Increase the baking time to 40 minutes to insure it’s heated through.)

Source: The New Thanksgiving Table by Diane Morgan

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Savory Palmiers from Ina Garten

Palmier? Your mind instantly thinks of a wide, thin sweet pasty, laden with sugar. Perhaps paired with a cappuccino in a Paris café. They are big and they are a meal.

A savory palmier? That’s got to be an oxymoron. How could you possibly make something that is not sweet, or, worse, potentially even healthy?

Well, you can. And these palmiers, filled with homemade pesto, are every bit as addictive as the sweet ones. Better yet, you can make and freeze these. Served as appetizers or as a first course with salad, as the recipe shows below, you’ll find your dinner partners grabbing for more.

The unusual nature of these palmiers will immediately attract attention. Then, after a first bite, there will appear a smile and a quiet look of astonishment. Different, flavorful and zero calories.

Two out of three isn’t bad.

Savory Palmiers

Ingredients:

For the Palmiers:

  • 1 package frozen puff pastry, Pepperidge Farm or other, defrosted
  • 1 cup prepared pesto, store-bough or homemade
  • ½ cup crumbled goat cheese, such as Montrachet
  • ¼ cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • ¼ cup pine nuts

For the Pesto (2 cups):

  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)
  • 5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

For the Salad and Vinaigrette:

  • 6-8 cups torn salad greens, such as frisée, Boston, red leaf, baby arugula
  • 2 tablespoons chives, cut
  • ½ teaspoon tarragon leaves, cut
  • ½ teaspoon thyme leaves, minced
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon water

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

To make the pesto: Place the walnuts, pine nuts, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 30 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is finely puréed. Add the parmesan and purée for a minute. Serve, or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.

Purée the goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor; stir in the pesto

Lightly flour a board and carefully unfold one sheet of puff pastry. Roll the pastry lightly with a rolling pin until it is 9½ x 11½ inches. Spread the sheet of puff pastry with half the pesto, the sprinkle with half the goat cheese, half the sun-dried tomatoes, and half the pine nuts. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt.

Working from the short ends, fold each end halfway to the center. Then fold each side again toward the center until the folded edges almost touch. Fold one side over the other and press lightly. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and chill roll. Repeat for the second sheet of puff pastry using the remaining ingredients. Cover and chill.

Cut the prepared rolls of puff pastry into ¼-inch-thick slices and place them face up 2 inches apart on sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Bake for 14 minutes, until golden brown.

Meanwhile the palmiers are baking, prepare the vinaigrette. In a small bowl whisk together, the olive oil, red wine vinegar and mustard to emulsify. Add the chopped herbs and salt and pepper to taste.

Source: Adapted from Back to Basics by Ina Garten