I never was a big fan of bread stuffing — it was either the texture or the spices or both. So when I found out I was allergic to wheat in 2005, I figured I could go without stuffing. But I realized it’s nice to have an alternative to such holiday staples, just so I don’t feel like I’m limiting myself.
Over the past few years, I’ve made a number of rice-based “stuffing” alternatives, usually by following recipes. This year, I showed my mom two rice stuffing recipes from Cooking Light and asked her which she thought would be better or easier to make. Now, my mom isn’t really big on recipes. Or measuring. Or using ingredients she doesn’t buy regularly. So she suggested I combine both recipes and modify them slightly to make life easier.
Here are the recipes:
- Wild Rice Dressing with Roasted Chestnuts and Cranberries (2010)
- Wild Rice Stuffing with Dried Cherries and Toasted Pecans (2011)
In the end, I went super lazy on this “recipe.” My mom was preparing her typical bread stuffing, so she asked me to start preparing mine. Because the 2011 recipe called for brown and wild rice, I decided to use Rice Select’s Royal Blend Texmati White, Brown, Wild & Red, which cooks in 15 minutes. I had made some a few days earlier, so I knew it didn’t even need the full 15 minutes, if prepared according to the directions. (The directions say to combine all ingredients in a saucepan, then bring to a boil. I think the rice was sitting in the water too long, as I have a gas stove that doesn’t boil things quickly.)
So for my stuffing, I used 2 cups of the rice mix and 3 cups of chicken broth. (You could use vegetable broth for a vegan option.) I brought the broth to a boil first, then added the rice and cooked for only 10 minutes — do not drain. (Both Cooking Light recipes call for under cooking the rice and retaining the remaining liquid.)
Meanwhile, my mom was chopping up celery, onions and carrots for her stuffing, so she chopped up a bunch for mine, as well. We also added walnuts, dried cranberries and fresh cranberries (roughly chopped in the food processor). I don’t know how much we used of each ingredient, but we ended up with more of the vegetable-fruit-nut combination than the rice mixture. (Two cups of the dry rice blend should yield 5 1/2 cups of cooked rice, so shoot for at least 6 cups total for the vegetable-fruit-nut mixture.)
We then combined the rice (and remaining liquid) with the vegetable-fruit-nut mixture and added a liberal amount of poultry seasoning (for the sage and thyme) and a little Mrs. Dash’s Table Blend. We baked it for about 20 minutes or so.
While not life-changing like the pumpkin pie I made, this stuffing was fantastic and required little effort or skill. The rice was done perfectly and did not stick to itself. The flavor was spiced just right, and the fresh cranberries added a nice freshness … for lack of a better word.
Anyone else have any good gluten-free stuffing recipes?