- 150g (5oz) wild rice and basmati mix
- 500ml (18fl oz) chicken stock
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 25g (1oz) butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
- 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 100g pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 100g mixed dried berries (such as sour cherries, blueberries and golden raisins)
- 100g dried apricots, chopped
- 1 large red dessert apple, cut into small pieces
- 175-200g (6-7oz) celery heart and leaves, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
For the sour cranberry sauce:
- 75g (3oz) dried cranberries
- 300ml (½ pint) fruity red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon
- 25g (1oz) sugar
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp arrowroot
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instead of stuffings many American cooks serve their roast turkey with side dishes and often refer to them as dressings. This one is typical – a pilaf type salad of nutty wild rice mixed with dried fruit, toasted pecans, crunchy apple and celery. It would also be delicious with roast duck or can make a good vegetarian alternative that everyone can enjoy. It would also work for St. Stephens Day with leftover turkey and ham
Put the wild rice, chicken stock, bay leaves and half a teaspoon of salt in a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until most of the wild grains have popped open and the rice is tender. You may need to add more water if the stock is absorbed too quickly.
Meanwhile, make the sour cranberry sauce. Put the sugar in a small, heavy-based pan with one tablespoon of water and leave over a low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Turn the heat to high and cook until you have an amber-coloured caramel (keep a close eye on it as the colour can turn very quickly). Remove the pan from the heat and add the vinegar – stand back as it will fizz quite violently. Return the pan to the heat and add the soaked cranberries along with the wine. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the mixture has a good sauce consistency.
Mix the arrowroot with two tablespoons of water in a small bowl or jug, then stir into the sauce. Simmer for 1 minute. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then keep warm over a low heat – it will continue to thicken.
Drain the wild rice and set aside. Melt the butter in a large pan, then add the onion and garlic. Cover and cook over a low heat until the onion is soft and lightly browned. Remove the lid and stir in the chopped celery and thyme. Cook for another 3 minutes. Add the drained rice to the pan with the toasted pecans, dried berries and apricots, the apple, and the celery heart and leaves. Stir gently over a medium heat to warm through. Take off the heat and stir in the parsley, then taste and season. Tip into a warmed serving dish and keep warm until ready to serve.