Wild Rice Stuffing with Dried Cherries and Hazelnuts
I love so much about the Thanksgiving tradition, yet, I’ve never been able to stick to the “traditional” recipes. I prefer creating (and eating) flavorful (and healthier) variations on traditional dishes.
This Wild Rice Stuffing Recipe made its debut on my Thanksgiving table a few years ago and its become a staple. If you want an herbaceous twist to your Thanksgiving stuffing, one that’s full of whole grain goodness, give this a try.
Wild Rice + Quinoa Stuffing with Cherries and Hazelnuts
2 cups quinoa, cooked (I used tri-color quinoa from Trader Joe's)
4 cups wild rice, cooked
2 lb Italian chicken sausage, no casing
1/4 cup olive oil
4 large shallots, chopped (~3/4 cup)
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups celery, diced
3 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
3 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
3 Tbsp chopped fresh sage, chopped
1 cup dried pitted cherries, coarsely chopped
1 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
salt & pepper, to taste
Cook quinoa & wild rice separately, adding slightly less water than usual for al-dente grains. (For more flavor, use veg stock instead of water when cooking). Once cooked, combine grains in a large bowl.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. When oil gets hot, add shallots + a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until tender, ~3 minutes, then toss in the garlic. Continue to cook until fragrant, ~a minute, then add celery. Keep cooking until celery begins to soften, another ~2 to 3 minutes.
Add ground chicken sausage, breaking up clumps as it cooks. Allow chicken to lightly brown (~7 minutes), stirring frequently. You may need to turn heat to high to brown the meat.
Add rosemary & sage to the skillet. Stir together for ~1-2 min, remove from heat, then toss in the thyme.
Combine sausage & herbs and all of the remaining olive oil with the rice & quinoa in large bowl. Mix well.
Stir in chopped cherries & hazelnuts. Taste for salt; add more salt along with black pepper as desired.
Cover and warm in the oven minutes before serving.