Monday, November 26, 2012

What's On the Side: Wild Rice with Sausage and Dried Cranberries


After our adventure gathering wild rice earlier this autumn, I knew that I wanted to include this ingredient in our Thanksgiving feast. While paging through the November issue of Eating Well last weekend, I came upon a recipe for Wild Rice Stuffing with Apple & Sausage, and used it as inspiration for my wild rice dish. This side dish turned out to be all sorts of Wisconsin-centric, as it included not only wild rice, but also bratwurst from locally-raised Berkshire pigs, locally-grown leeks, and locally-harvested and dried cranberries. The sausage and leeks add a nice savory flavor to the wild rice, which is complemented quite well by the sweetness (and tartness) of the dried cranberries.

Wild Rice with Sausage and Dried Cranberries (inspired by this Eating Well recipe)
makes about six servings

1 cup wild rice
2 cups filtered water (for cooking the rice)
1 cup chopped bratwurst, casings removed
1 leek, chopped (white and light green parts only)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
seal salt
ground black pepper

1. Cook the wild rice according to the package's instructions. (I cooked mine in my rice cooker using the "brown rice" setting.)
2. Meanwhile, remove the casing from the sausage and chop into small pieces.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned. Remove from the heat and place the cooked sausage on a paper towel-lined plate to remove any excess fat.
4. In the same skillet, saute the chopped leek until softened, about 2-3 minutes.
5. Combine together the cooked wild rice, cooked sausage and leeks, dried cranberries, and pecans. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

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