Bonnie Wilkins of Bend, Ore., was looking for a recipe for she has lost for wild rice dressing for turkey. She said that in the late 1980s, she was living in Tampa, Fla., and the Tampa Tribune ran a wonderful recipe for the dressing that contained water chestnuts as well as other ingredients. She was hoping someone might still have that one or something similar.
Unfortunately, I had no luck finding the exact recipe Wilkins was in search of, but I did find an excellent recipe for wild rice and corn bread dressing that I think would be well worth her trying. It comes from a post by Lynn Craig of Napa Valley, Calif., on the Robert Craig Winery website. She said the recipe is based on one she clipped from Sunset Magazine decades ago and it has been a Craig family holiday favorite ever since. Craig said she has shared the recipe many times over the years with friends and family, and she can safely say that it has passed the taste test.
Unlike many other wild rice dressing recipes I came across in my research, I particularly liked this one because it combined some of the more traditional and familiar stuffing ingredients like corn bread and sausage with less traditional ones like wild rice and water chestnuts. The result is an out-of-the-ordinary stuffing that is still the perfect complement to Thanksgiving turkey, or any poultry dish for that matter.
Rachel Blum from Santa Rosa, Calif., is looking for a dessert recipe that her ex-husband's grandmother used to make with leftover peppermint candy canes from the holidays. She somehow melted the candy canes and then folded in whipping cream and unflavored gelatin, and that was layered in a pan with thin chocolate wafer cookies and then put in the freezer or refrigerator to set.
Rose Dodds from Bel Air said that a while back, she was served a cake at a party that was "out of this world," and she would love to have the recipe for it. It was similar to a poundcake but had a pronounced almond flavor that reminded her of Italian amaretto cookies.
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Wild rice and corn bread dressing
Makes: 8 to 10 servings, about 9 to 10 cups of dressing
1 bag (6 1/2 to 8 ounces) corn bread stuffing mix
1 cup cooked wild rice
1/2 to 3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup canned sliced water chestnuts, slivered
1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano
1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley
1 cup turkey stock or canned chicken broth
1/4 cup turkey drippings or melted butter (if baking outside bird)
Prepare wild rice according to directions to yield 1 cup cooked rice.
Remove casing from sausage and crumble into frying pan. Saute over medium heat until lightly browned. Without draining sausage (some sausages do not produce much drippings, so add a little olive oil if needed for browning), add chopped onion and minced garlic to the pan and continue cooking until onion is limp. Add mushrooms and saute for 2 to 3 minutes longer. Put stuffing in a large bowl. Add cooked rice, water chestnuts, oregano and parsley. Then add the meat mixture and toss.
To bake in a casserole: When ready to bake, add 1 cup turkey stock or chicken broth and stir until evenly blended. Spoon into a greased 3-quart casserole. Cover with lid or foil and bake in a 325- to 350-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Uncover and drizzle with 1/4 cup turkey drippings or melted butter. Continue baking uncovered for another 5 to 10 minutes or until as crisp and dry as you like.
To bake inside the bird: Drizzle 1/2 to 3/4 cup turkey stock or chicken broth over the stuffing mixture, depending upon your preference for dry or moist stuffing (remember that the juices from the turkey will add some moisture). Loosely fill the breast cavity with stuffing just before roasting. Any leftover stuffing can be baked in a small casserole dish, as above.