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.
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.