For The Press
On Thanksgiving, I am a traditionalist and an adventurer, too. Maintaining a family tradition, I include the canned small French green peas with pearl onions that my mother always served. Call this retro, but it's essential for me. However, serving only the same dishes every year would be too dull.
So I always start Thanksgiving dinner with soup, but make a different one every year. Stuffing is another dish where I am adventurous. I should say dressing, since it is always baked separately from the bird. We all prefer this because it lets the turkey roast in less time, hence less risk of drying it out, while the dressing stays light, never heavy or greasy.
This year, my dressing will be rice-based. Red rice, to be specific. There are several varieties of red rice. All are aromatic and whole grain. California-grown Wehani is the most dense and chewy. Bhutanese red is lighter in texture but still has full, nutty flavor. You may also find red rice from South America or France's Camargue region.
Bhutanese is my favorite rice to use in this recipe because it combines well with the dried fruits, almonds and other ingredients. But any red rice is good. Simply cook it according to package directions. If you cannot get red rice, most other kinds work nicely, too.
Red Rice Dressing with Dried Fruit
•1/4 cup dried cranberries
• 1/4 cup golden raisins
• 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
• 1/2 cup orange juice
• 3/4 cup Bhutan Red rice, or other red rice
•1 1/2 cups fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
• 2 tablespoons. extra virgin olive oil
• 1 cup finely chopped onion
• 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
• 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
• 1 teaspoon stuffing or poultry seasoning
•Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In small bowl, plump cranberries, raisins and apricots in orange juice, 20 minutes. Drain and set fruit aside. Reserve juice for baking or for glazing sweet potatoes.
In medium saucepan, combine rice with 1 cup broth. Add 1 cup water. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and cook for 3 minutes less time than on package directions, until rice is slightly less than tender. Fluff with fork, cover and set hot rice aside.
In small Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and celery and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are soft, 8 minutes. Add cooked rice, soaked fruit, almonds, stuffing seasoning, remaining 1/2 cup broth and mix to combine. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. When broth boils, cover, and bake for 30 minutes, until dressing is hot. Fluff with a fork and let dressing sit for 15 minutes before serving.
Nutritional information per serving: 240 calories, 9 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 38 g carbohydrate, 4 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 125 mg sodium.