Q: I have lost my copy of a Thanksgiving issue. 1990-1991? It was a Thanksgiving menu. It was recommended as different from the traditional turkey dinner. The stuffing had nuts and dried fruit. The sweet potatoes had slices of cheddar cheese and the cranberry sauce had onions, etc.! I think it was the center section of the issue that week. I' m sure everyone would enjoy seeing and trying these recipes again. Would appreciate your help.
—Betty Thomas Stork, Crystal Lake
A: Sorry, I had no luck finding these recipes in the Tribune archives. Maybe readers have a copy of these recipes they can share?
In the meantime, I focused on the idea of a non-traditional stuffing because I think it's a dish you can serve all year and not just with turkey. Pair one of the wild rice stuffings below with chicken, duck, quail or, maybe, even a crown pork roast or a whole fish. You could even make and bake the stuffing in a casserole dish, or hollowed-out bell peppers or zucchini. You may end up with leftovers, yes, because the scale of the recipes are designed to fit with turkey but what's wrong with that?
The first recipe comes from the time period you specified. It is a 1990 recipe for a wild rice, cranberry and pecan dressing adapted from "The Turkey Cookbook" by Rick Rodgers.
A few years later, in 1995, the Tribune ran a story by Nancy Ross Ryan featuring a wild rice stuffing recipe from Chef Susan Goss, then of Chicago's Zinfandel restaurant. Unlike Rodgers, Goss used dried fruit in her recipe.
I have not made either recipe but I like the sound of them. I hope you do, too. Both recipes call for toasted nuts. Here's how from Ryan's story: To toast nuts, place them in a single layer on a baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool.
Wild rice, cranberry and pecan dressing
Prep: 20 minutes. Cook: 75 to 85 minutes. Makes: About 8 cups
This recipe ran in the Chicago Tribune in 1990. It was adapted from "The Turkey Cookbook" by Rick Rodgers.
1 cup each: sugar; water
1 package (12 ounces) fresh cranberries
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 large celery ribs, finely chopped
2 cups wild rice, well rinsed
5 cups homemade turkey stock or 5 cups canned chicken broth
1 teaspoon each: salt, dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon each: freshly ground pepper, savory
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
1. Put sugar and water in medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat to simmer, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries and cook just until all the cranberries are popped, about 3 minutes. (Do not overcook; you want the cranberries to stay relatively whole.) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cranberries to a medium-size bowl, leaving the cranberry syrup in the saucepan.
2. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and celery and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add wild rice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add stock, salt, thyme and pepper. Heat to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until rice is tender but pleasantly chewy, about 45 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 15 minutes. (Drain the wild rice of excess cooking liquid, if necessary.) Add the wild rice mixture and the toasted pecans to the cranberries. Toss to mix well. Use as a turkey stuffing or bake separately.
4. To bake separately, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place in a buttered 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Bake, covered, until heated through, 30 to 40 minutes.
Wild rice stuffing
Prep: 55 minutes. Cook: 1 hour Makes: About 5 quarts
Chef Susan Goss shared this recipe for a 1995 Chicago Tribune story about stuffing. Her favorite fruits are a combination of apricots and prunes.
3 cups raw (about 1 1/4 pounds) wild rice
1 tablespoon salt
4 cups (1 pound) mixed dried fruits
1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced, about 4 cups
2 cups each: thinly sliced green onions, chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 cups chopped, toasted nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, or almonds, see note
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Rinse wild rice and place in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add cold water to cover; add 1 teaspoon of the salt. Heat to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, until rice is tender but still retains a little texture, about 45 minutes. Drain well and cool. There should be about 9 cups cooked.
2. Meanwhile, put dried fruits into medium saucepan and add cold water to barely cover. Heat to a boil; cover pan and remove from heat. Let stand 20 to 30 minutes until softened. Strain fruit from liquid, reserving liquid. Let fruit cool and chop into 1/2 -inch pieces.
3.Melt butter in large skillet or Dutch oven. Add mushrooms and green onions; cook and stir until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in reserved chopped fruit, parsley, nuts and sage. Mix well.
4. Place rice in large bowl. Add mushroom mixture. Mix gently but thoroughly. Season with pepper and remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Taste and adjust seasonings. If stuffing seems dry, add a little of the reserved fruit soaking liquid, but remember that this stuffing is loose; it will not cling like bread stuffing. Let stuffing cool completely before stuffing into turkey.
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