This holiday season we took a break from traditional bread stuffing and went with rice instead. Don’t get me wrong, bread stuffing is just about my favorite thing, and it still is. This rice is a totally different story. It’s rich and nutty, chewy and satisfying. You will love it! On a side note, I made this dish twice, once with oil and no sausage so that it would be vegan. The second time I made it with butter and added sausage. Both of the dishes were excellent. The butter and sausage did not make much of a difference in flavor, so I suggest leaving it out and saving the calories for dessert!
- 1/2 C. slivered almonds
- 4 T. olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 leek, halved vertically and sliced
- 1 C. chopped celery
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 T. each fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 C. parsley, chopped
- 2 green apples, peeled, cored, and diced
- 1/4 C. cognac or brandy
- 6 C. cooked wild rice and brown rice combination
- 10 prunes, chopped
Heat a small skillet over medium heat and toast the almonds in the dry skillet for about 4 minutes (careful not to burn them!). Set the almonds aside. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat and add the oil. Add the onion, leek, and celery and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, and sage and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue to cook until the vegetables are softened, about ten more minutes. Transfer the contents to a large bowl. Put the apples in the empty Dutch oven and cook for about three minutes or until they begin to brown. Add the cognac and let it bubble up for a minute, scraping all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Cook until the apples soften, about five more minutes and add them to the bowl of veggies along with the parsley. Add the rice (I used a combination of brown and wild rice) almonds, and chopped prunes, and toss to combine. Pour the rice into a casserole dish and bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until hot.