Tuesday, November 22, 2011

simple side: wild rice with cranberries and pecans

My goal was to have the majority of my Thanksgiving sides made before the weekly cleaning crew comes through this afternoon. I was thinking how nice it would be to have the cooking done ahead of time and a clean house. Done! (Although I still need to scurry around cleaning up for the cleaning crew.) Last night I made our stuffing and sweet potatoes and baked a bunch of small pumpkin breads for our house cleaners, mailman, school bus driver and neighbors who help us out throughout the year. My one son wants mashed potatoes, so I'm going the super easy Alexia Yukon gold & sea salt route, so that's a-few-minutes-before-the-meal side (and not homemade.. I am living in the edge this year, I tell you). This morning, I made the brine that our turkey will go in tomorrow morning, and put it out in our cold garage until I'm ready for it. My mom and dad have offered to come bearing simple green beans, sauteed kale and cranberry sauce this year (making my end of the cooking super easy to do ahead). This morning, I realized I had one extra Trader Joe's carton of chopped garlic, shallots and onion*, so I checked the pantry and decided to make one more (healthful) side ahead of time. Oh, and I had a few extra cups of sage cream sauce from the Savory Pumpkin Cannelloni I made on Sunday....so that extra sauce is going to morph into peeled pearl onions (I got at Trader Joe's) braised in sage cream. Mmmm, decadence. Here's that healthy side first though:

Wild Rice with Cranberries and Pecans
(makes 8+ servings, can be made 2-3 days ahead and stored in fridge)

1 cup chopped onion, garlic & shallots* (or you can just use onions if you're making it from scratch)
olive oil
1 cup of wild rice, rinsed and drained
4 cups vegetable broth
handful of dried cranberries
handful of chopped pecans
drizzle of balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper, to taste

Rinse and drain rice, then cook rice according to package. The ratio is usually 4 cups liquid to 1 cup rice and it takes about 45 minutes. (I used vegetable broth instead of water.) While the rice is cooking, saute onions/shallots/garlic in a bit of olive oil for a few minutes, until the soften a bit and start to become translucent. Once rice is done, stir in onion mixture, cranberries and pecans while still warm. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, to taste. Add salt & pepper, to taste. Can be made 2-3 days ahead, as the flavors will meld and it will just get better! You can serve this dish room temp or warm.

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