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Wild Rice Bread Dressing with Apple, Apricot & Sage

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Serves ten to twelve.

Yields about 10 cups.

  • To learn more, read:
    Wild Rice
  • by Beth Dooley, Lucia Watson from Fine Cooking
    Issue 60

  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup Triple Sec or Grand Marnier
  • 1 cup wild rice, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup minced yellow onion
  • 1 cup minced celery
  • 2 Tbs. finely grated orange zest
  • 4 cups 1/2-inch cubes of bread from a crusty baguette, left out overnight to dry or toasted in a 350°F oven until dry and light golden
  • 1 cup 1/2-inch diced apple
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup toasted, chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 cup homemade or low-salt canned chicken broth; more if needed
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Put the dried apricots in a small bowl and pour the Triple Sec or Grand Marnier over them to cover. Let the apricots soak for about an hour and then drain off any excess liqueur (save the liqueur to deglaze a sauté or to add to a warm vinaigrette).

Meanwhile, put the wild rice in a medium saucepan and cover with water by about an inch. Bring the water to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender and most of the grains have popped open, 40 to 60 minutes (be sure to taste for tenderness). Pour the rice into a colander or sieve to drain well.

Heat the oven to 350ºF. Butter a 13x9-inch baking pan. In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, melt the 1/2 cup butter. Add the onion and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

With a rubber spatula, scrape the onion and celery into a large bowl. Stir in the orange zest to distribute evenly. Add the cooked wild rice, apricots, bread cubes, apple, sage, parsley, and pecans and stir to combine. Pour in the orange juice and broth, season with the salt and pepper, and stir to blend. The bread cubes should be evenly moistened— softened on the outside but still crunchy inside. Some of the broth may pool at the bottom of the bowl but will get absorbed as the dressing cooks.

Evenly distribute the dressing in the baking pan and cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake until hot throughout, about 50 minutes, remove the foil and continue to bake until the dressing is slightly crusty on top, another 15 to 20 minutes.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on twelve servings; Calories (kcal): 300; Fat (g): 16; Fat Calories (kcal): 140; Saturated Fat (g): 6; Protein (g): 5; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7; Carbohydrates (g): 33; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): 240; Cholesterol (mg): 20; Fiber (g): 4;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I gave it four stars for texture. I liked the combination of bread, wild rice, and nuts. I rate the flavor three stars because the orange was overwhelming. Also, it had a sweet and sour taste that was not to my liking, though it may suit others fine. There was just a tablespoon of Triple Sec left after marinating the apricots, so I added it to the stuffing---probably a mistake. Next time, I would reduce or eliminate the orange juice, reduce the apricots, increase the nuts, and use Cognac for part or all of the Triple Sec.

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