A Wild Stuffing for Thanksgiving
While it’s true that there are not too many wild edibles to forage for in late November, even in California (sea beans are past their prime and stringy and miner’s lettuce is definitely past its prime), with a bit of forethought you can bring some of the taste of the summer to your Thanksgiving table. Freezers have made it possible for us to take some of the bounty of the warm season and preserve it for the cooler months.
Preparing a unique stuffing for your Thanksgiving turkey can include blackberries that you harvested during the summer and then froze for later use. Although this stuffing recipe is prepared mostly on the stovetop, I would suggest popping it into the oven for the last 15 or 20 minutes of your turkey’s cooking time, to make sure it’s good and hot and to infuse some of the turkey flavor into it. Try this snappy recipe to give family and friends a real treat on Thanksgiving.
Wild Rice and Wild Blackberry Stuffing: Everyone who loves the distinctive flavor of wild rice will love this stuffing. And, although you will be cooking the stuffing next to your turkey in the last states of the process, you can always dribble a bit of the pan drippings over the stuffing to not only help keep it moist, but also to add a bit of turkey flavor, too. This recipe will provide enough stuffing for about 6 people.
· ½ cup of wild rice
· ½ cup spelt
· ½ cup thawed wild blackberries
· 1 cup chopped pecans
· 1 cup diced carrots
· 1 cup diced onion
· 1 cup diced celery
· 2 garlic cloves, grated
· ¾ cup chopped parsley
· 1 tablespoon chopped sage
· 2 tablespoons olive oil
· 2 tablespoon water
· ¼ teaspoon pepper
· ½ teaspoon salt
Place wild rice and spelt into a large pot and cover with water – make sure there is at least 3” of water over the grains. Bring the pot to a boil, simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, then turn off heat, cover, and allow the pot to sit for 1 hour. After the grains have expanded, drain and set aside.
While the rice and spelt were sitting, you should be getting the other ingredients ready.
Spread the chopped pecans over a baking sheet and give them 10 minutes in the oven at 325 F.
Sauté the vegetables in the olive oil in a medium saucepan about 5 minutes, then cover the pan and allow the vegetables to cook for another 10 minutes until they are tender.
Add the rice and spelt to the vegetables, along with the salt and pepper. Just before putting into a baking dish, carefully mix the blackberries.
Put everything into a baking dish and stick it into the oven next to your nearly done turkey. Make sure to use the pan drippings from the turkey pan to add flavor and moisture to your wild stuffing.
Once the turkey and the stuffing are out of the oven and on the table – enjoy. This is a different approach to the traditional stuffing most of us are used to, but will add a new dimension and taste treat to this beloved holiday, and is undoubtedly one of which the Pilgrims would heartily approve.