With the earthy flavour of mushrooms, a hint of sweetness from cranberries and a bit of a a crunch with toasted pine nuts, this rice pilaf is the perfect dish for fall. I am thinking Thanksgiving!
It's that time of year again. The time when I start to feel nostalgia for the home I left behind. Yes, I miss home so much right now. Fall, has always been my favourite season. In fact, I think if there ever were a survey of which season comes out on top, it will most likely be this season. You can just about feel hope and fresh starts. The batteries are recharged after a long and hot summer as well as looking forward to all the festivities fall has to offer.
Then I remember fall comes much later for us living on the edge of continual sunshine and blistering heat.
I say this repeatedly, and it's true, I do love where I live. I mean I must do, I have spent the past 20 years here. Gee, I feel old now. In any case, like everywhere, it has it's price. The price right now being the perpetual sunshine, scorched earth countryside and the never ending indigo skies. The flip side of that is no snow shovelling, frostbitten ears or frozen jeans. Always a price.
When I think of my long ago home, I can just about feel the sharp sting of fall, see my breath make smoke like rings and hear the rustle of the crisp fallen leaves. All with signs of the winter to come. Ummmm, now I do remember why I live here. As much as I love fall, winter not so much.
Still, these things I miss when fall settles in and I look at my home through the eyes of the internet only to be reminded of all I left behind.
Thanksgiving being top of that list.
My favourite holiday is Thanksgiving. Well, Christmas first really if it comes down to it. But Thanksgiving is high on the list. If you are just tuning in, I am talking about the one in Canada which is celebrated pretty soon. The second Monday in October to be exact. Which works quite well in Canada as the leaves have turned, the air has chilled and it's all about chestnuts and cider.
But living on the fringe of endless sunshine and soaring temperatures, Thanksgiving has a way of loosing its allure. Still, I push forward and celebrate every year. As the year passes, I vow to myself that the following year it will be a barbecue and not a roasted turkey. Fruit salad as opposed to Apple Pie. But because I am a creature of habit and love my traditions, I still roast the darn turkey and curse my way through the day. What is wrong with me?
There is hope yet.
Which finally brings me to this Pilaf Rice dish. If you are looking for an alternative for Thanksgiving, I would put this rice top of the list for a side dish. In fact, if I go down the non traditional route this year, it just might be making an appearance.
This dish was rustled up the other day intending to be used as a stuffing for Chicken breasts. I was organized in advance. Go me! Well, the chicken never happened. By the time I fed the cats, the dog, chaffered one ancy teenager to the other side of town, had a quick visit to the shops for MORE school supplies and looked through the never ending "To Do" list, I decided the rice made earlier in the day would be just fine for dinner.
And you know what, it really was. I wouldn't necessarily call this a main dish, but it worked just fine. It was substantially filling enough and it sure was tasty. I added the dried cranberries as an afterthought, but I think they really made the dish.
Also, it's pretty. That is a complete bonus that may or may not matter to some. If you are planning on a Thanksgiving side, the looks may play a little part. However, if you are planning on eating it out of the pan, not so much. But pretty it was.
The recipe below is pretty straightforward and I don't think there is a whole lot to say. I did chop my cranberries up really small, like tiny. Only because I didn't really want to bite into large pieces of dried fruit in the rice dish. Plus I honestly feel it worked better this way. As well, the pine nuts were toasted, as stated in the recipe. I did this in a little frying pan on the stove. I set them over a low heat and shook the pan every 30 seconds until they were lightly toasted. This only took about 3 minutes. If you have never toasted pine nuts, keep a close eye on them because they tend to burn quickly. Speaking from lots of experience! Apart from that it is all straightforward and easy.
Wild Rice Pilaf with Cranberries and Pine Nuts
Serves 6 / Prep time: 10 minutes / Cook time: 25 minutes
2 Cups/380 grams wild rice
4 Cups/960 ml vegetable stock
1/4 Cup/60 ml white wine
1 Small onion, roughly chopped
3 Cups/225 grams fresh button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 Cup/60 grams dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1/4 Cup/35 grams pine nuts, toasted
1 Teaspoon dried rosemary
Small bunch fresh chopped parsley
2 Tablespoons butter
In a large skillet set over high heat, add the butter until melted. Add the onions and give a good toss. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms and give a good stir. After about 2 minutes, when the mushrooms start to brown, add the wine. Stir to incorporate.
When the wine has evaporated, 2-3 more minutes, add the rice and stir well. Fry the rice for just about a minute. Add all the stock at once and the dried rosemary. Stir well, reduce heat to medium low and cover. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the rice is tender and all the stock has evaporated.
Fluff up the rice. Add the dried cranberries, pine nuts and parsley. Give a good stir. Ready to serve.
Click the downloadable link below to print recipe!
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