For Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we returned to my hometown, Lewistown, Missouri, to spend time with my parents. We were extremely busy elves for about 60 hours! We did a great deal in a very small window of time. About 12 of those hours were driving time! We cannot say enough about the wonderful meal provided by the fire department in Lewistown. Our family had some particular needs this year, one being my inability to prepare a holiday dinner. Since we were driving back home the 25th, it was not going to happen. Hats off to the wonderful crew who put our holiday meal together.
Now that we are back home in Branson West I’m planning a New Year’s Eve dinner and this rice dish is going to be the main side to the meal. I’m even giving this meal some glamour with an elegant appetizer. Still not sure on the meat of choice. I’m considering a pork loin, which I will probably brine and then grill. As I think towards the dessert I’m looking at simplicity and something lite’. For table décor I’m pulling out my cut crystal with a touch of silver and red. Still carrying in the holiday theme.
Several years ago I wrote a recipe for a side dish of lemon pilaf. With just a little bit of innovation it has now become a ‘winter’ wild rice pilaf. Any time we sauté rice the word ‘pilaf’ can be incorporated in the name. This one is just delicious and it accompanies meat dishes from beef to turkey. I’ve made it before not just doubling it but 5 x’s the recipe. What I thought I would do is share what I learned making all this rice for a party of 35 guests.
Mainly if you’re preparing this much rice pilaf you must start at least 2 hours before the event. I started about 2 ½ hours before the dinner making five batches. With the wild rice there is a good chance the white rice will get done and the wild will remain chewy. True to word when I finished each recipe the wild rice was still a bit crunchy. Turn an oven or warming drawer to about 180 degrees. Make sure the containers of rice are sealed tightly with foil. Sitting them inside the low temperature oven helps the wild rice finish softening due to the steam process. We held ours for about an hour and fifteen minutes before serving. This also gives the hostess time to prepare before the guests arrive!
Wild rice soup, crab stuffed mushroom caps, steak, bacon wrapped green beans, cranberry relish, horseradish sauce, rice pilaf, hot rolls and cheesecake for dessert. It presents nicely and has a good balance. You are going to be able to accompany the rice with not only beef but also pork, turkey and chicken. If leftovers are a problem you could also add a meat to the pilaf and call it a main entrée.
Did I just mention leftovers? Why not make a double or a triple of the recipe and freeze some for later meals or lunches. I always say if you’re getting everything to make a full recipe, why not make 2! Happy New Year Friends.
Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com
Wild Rice Pilaf
2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup wild rice
2 cups beef stock
3 tablespoons salted butter
5-6 green onions, chopped fine
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot or red pepper
3 garlic cloves, pressed or chopped fine
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup dried craisins
1 1/3 cups white long grain rice, rinsed
2 3/4 cups beef stock
1 large orange, juiced and zested
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon savory spice leaves
In large sauce pan sauté wild rice over medium heat in 2 tablespoons of butter. Add 2 cups of beef stock and cook until all liquid is absorbed. Add 3 tablespoons of butter and add onion, carrot and pecans.
Toast until nutmeats are lightly browned.
While cooking begin rinsing white rice. Drain the rice and add to saucepan. Cook rice until it begins to turn translucent, now add garlic and sauté without over cooking. Add chicken stock, craisins, juice from (1) large orange (2-3 tablespoons), salt, pepper and savory spice. Stir the mixture to a boil stage until there’s no stock left in the pan, when the pan is tilted. Zest the orange and ‘fluff’ into the rice. Serves 4-6 persons.
Serve with beef, pork or chicken. You may consider adding the meat to the dish!