An Open Cookbook

An Open Cookbook


Portabella Mushroom and Wild Rice Dressing

It is the first Sunday of the month, which means...Recipe Swap time.  Christianna, of Burwell General Store has given us the assignment of recreating a wild rice dressing from a restaurant called Pine Tavern in Bend, Oregon.  Wild rice is one of those grains that I often forget about, which is unfortunate, because it is an nice earthy addition to the table.

There is a very special element to wild rice.  I don't know if it is because it is expensive, or that it is often eaten on festive occasions, but I am always happy to see it.  My first memory of wild rice is from a historic restaurant in Ohio called the Golden Lamb.  It was one of my family's 'special occasion' restaurants.  I would sit on my desk at school dreaming of apple butter and wild rice the week before going to the Golden Lamb. We would get all dressed up to make the long drive to Lebanon, Ohio.  I had the same impatient Christmas Eve excitement.  Once we got there, I ordered the same dish every time; roasted chicken with a wild rice pilaf.  A warmly lit crowded dining room, homemade apple butter and a basket of freshly baked grainy rolls; this girl was in heaven.

In our postprandial bliss, we would stroll through the Inn attached to the restaurant.  The red carpeted hallways held doorways to historic rooms where former presidents and famous people had stayed during their travels through Ohio.  I was always a little bit creeped out by this haunted aspect of the Inn, so I would be ready to get to the cinnamon scented gift shop on the ground floor.

So it was a pleasant reminder of the Gold Lamb when Christianna assigned us a Wild Rice dressing.  I wanted to stick with the heartiness of a dressing, so I kept the celery and wild rice.  One cup of bacon drippings sounded a little rich for me, so I swapped that for olive oil, a little butter and chicken sausage.  The curry powder was an intriguing component, but I wanted to keep things traditional.  As the song goes, I used parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.  Thank you Christianna for giving us this recipe.  It was a fun trip down memory lane, translated into a more modern version that will be my leftovers for lunch this week.

Portabella Mushroom and Wild Rice Dressing
Makes about 6 cups

It has been a few months since Thanksgiving, so this recipe will bring the festive aromas into your February kitchen.  Feel free to swap in a different meat, or take out the sausage altogether.  Either way, you will be warmed with wild rice and mushroom goodness.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried sage
1 Tbsp butter
1 cup uncooked brown rice and wild rice blend
1 1/2-2 cup broth (chicken, vegetable or mushroom)

2 chicken sausage links
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Portbella mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 green onions, diced
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil on medium heat in a medium pot.   Drop in the onions and celery and saute until they have softened , about 10 minutes.  Add in the thyme, rosemary, sage and butter and stir to coat.  Pour in the rice and broth and bring to a boil.  Lower to a simmer, cover and cook until rice is done, about 35 minutes.  Add more broth if necessary.

Meanwhile, boil the chicken sausages until done.  Remove from heat, and cut into coins.  Heat a separate saute pan on medium.  Add in the other 1 Tbsp olive oil.  Drop in the mushrooms, thyme and garlic powder.  Saute until the mushrooms are cooked through.  Add in the sausage pieces and cook until all the flavors have blended.

When the rice mixture is done, pour it into the mushroom and sausage pan.  Stir in the fresh parsley, green onions and salt and pepper to taste.


Barbara | Creative Culinary said...

I love how foods evoke such strong memories; your story is evidence of just that. When wild rice is so much more than 'just' rice; it was an adventure.

I love the various takes on the original recipe but I also love the ones like yours that really stick with a version of the original dish; sometimes something is good enough that going out of bounds isn't necessary, is it?

Toni @ Boulder Locavore said...

Alli I love your memory of the Golden Lamb! I feel as I get farther from my childhood the impact of those food experiences and memories are even more distinct. Maybe since as adults we don't plan or wait in the same way to visit restaurants with such special, thoughtful planning. Your dish is what I think of when I think of the beautiful, deeply flavorful dishes of the winter. Earthy and divine! Lovely post.

The Cozy Herbivore said...

Mmm, I love the addition of the portobellas-- I can see how they would compliment the wild rice nicely! This looks delicious.

Julia said...

All the flavors in your rice sounds just heavenly! I like that you stuck fairly closely to the original dish!

Rachel said...

Wild rice has always seemed special to me too. I think it's because it takes so long to cook and isn't really rice. It looks so exotic!
It looks like this recipe swap sent us in similar directions! Rice and portobello mushrooms are so wonderful together and I bet all those fresh herbs made your dressing fantabulous!

Lana said...

Nothing can take me back to my childhood faster than food:) I loved your post and through your words I could feel the excitement and trepidation of young feet walking on the carpeted hallways:)

Burwell General Store said...

Thank YOU for sharing with us! And, for lightening up the original recipe a bit. ;) As always, I love your voice and inspirations, and I can't wait to read more next time.

Jamie said...

This sounds delicious and I bet it was even better the next day. I'm weird and LOVE rice leftovers!

Kim Bee said...

This is such a lovely recipe and the photos are fantastic. Great way to adapt the recipe. And I love that you made it personal with memories attached. That always make me happy when I read how food brings forth long settled memories.

PolaM said...

Beautiful stir fry! I love the combination of sausage and mushrooms!

Laura said...

Food memories are the best kind. Great post!

Alex said...

what a sweet memory! I can just picture you as a little one!

Camilla ~ Caffay Way said...

Don't you love it when things hit you like this in a good way and all of a sudden all of your senses are transported back in time to a great memory. Your dressing looks delicious as well.

Shumaila said...

I love how you added mushrooms to the dish. These days I love mushroom in everything.
Love how you have lightened up the original recipe.

Mary said...

The flavors here all sound wonderful to me. I love the way certain foods transport us back in time this way. Enjoy your leftovers and have a blessed week!

Jim Purdy said...

It took me a while to get used to Portbella mushrooms, but now I look for them on restaurant menus. I like them instead of meat, especially in a sandwich wrap.

Jacqueline - The Dusty Baker said...

What a BEAUTIFUL memory! It's so lovely to see how childhood perceptions of food continue to shape what we love and savor as adults! Great swap :)