I just had the most interesting conversation with my Mom. We were talking about Thanksgiving dinner – and our Wild Rice Stuffing/Dressing recipe. I had been under the impression that it was a Northern Minnesota thing – but she said actually my Grandma started it – so it hits even closer to home! My grandma passed away when I was about 6-mos old – so this is one of those “legacy” recipes that I will pass on to my kids.
So the story goes, the idea was started in the late 50’s or early 60’s by Grandma Alpha when Grandpa Don asked her what they could do with all that wild rice. At the time he was a buyer of the raw rice and would sell it raw. Then one year he had it processed and was selling it already processed and they had a ton of it.
The history of wild rice is uniquely American. It is actually a grain, and is the only cereal grain native to North America. Wild Rice is a strong replacement for white or brown rice in your diet. It is higher in protein, lower in carbs , and is higher in Vitamin A and folic acid. Its pretty low in fat (depending upon how you cook it) but it is a really good source of Omega-3s. It’s a great alternative to rice in casseroles and soups.
This is a really cool video about how it was harvested and how it is now harvested.
I cannot imagine a turkey dinner without this stuff. It’s why I have almost always cooked thanksgiving – or had it at mom’s – since I was married and had children. We’ve gone elsewhere a few times, but I always made stuffing and turkey at home so we had “the right stuff” for the holiday!
What holiday traditional foods are you looking forward to on Thursday?
Wild Rice Stuffing
- 8-10 C Dried Bread Cubes cubes are important
- 1 C Uncooked Wile Rice
- 1/2 C 1 Stick Butter
- 4-5 Stalks Celery chopped
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 4-6 Cups Chicken Stock
- 1-2 tsp Poultry Seasoning
- 1/2 to 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Pepper
In a saucepan bring 3 cups water and the wild rice to a boil. Cover and simmer until the grains start to break apart and curl just a bit - see image above. Be aware - this is going to take AT LEAST 30 minutes, more like 45. This is not a quick cooking grain. Test a taste or two to be sure it's not crunchy - drain. (I usually do this a few days ahead of time)
Dump your bread crumbs into a very large bowl or turkey pan.
Put your turkey (or chicken) stock in a pot to warm, you don't need to boil it, but warm stock incorporates better.
In a large skillet, melt the butter and saute the celery and onion until transparent. Mix in the poultry seasoning and pour over the bread cubes. Stir well
Start adding your warmed chicken stock, you want your stuffing to be pretty moist, but not mushy. The amount you need varies depending upon your type of bread cube and the humidity of the day. Keep adding until the stuffing forms into a ball in your hand and sticks together without crumbling when you toss it from hand to hand.
Stuff your bird (remember, stuffed birds take longer to bake), or bake in the oven, or put it in the crockpot until the turkey is ready!