I love Thanksgiving. I know that’s really obvious and uninspired. Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving? It’s the ultimate American holiday. But still, I love it so much that I am willing to sound dull and mundane by stating it so simply. I love it. What do I love so much about it? Is it the togetherness? No. No, it’s the food. It is all about the food for me.
It’s not just the eating of the food. It’s about the preparation of the food, the hard work, the making of a meal that is truly special. In my house, everything we make is completely from scratch (unless we use any bread, I suck at making bread). And we all pitch in. I do not spend all day slaving in the kitchen for my family. That can happen anytime. Thanksgiving is not my gift to them. No, they have to bust their humps right along with me. Even if they are only a toddler, their butts have to work for it. But you know, even if they get tired or frustrated, in doing it as a family, we all get to share that feeling of pride when we dig in to the most amazing meal we eat all year. We sit, we eat, we enjoy, and we know that we did this.
My favorite part of the entire Thanksgiving meal is the stuffing. I learned from my mother-in-law how to make a stuffing that is so good it makes you want to cry. It is also the kind of stuffing that is like a meal in itself. In fact, I often eat the leftovers as such. So when I had to cook our first gluten free Thanksgiving last year, I was really bummed. I just knew that it wouldn’t taste as good with the gluten free bread we’d been eating, so I decided to make it altogether different. I saw online that people make it with wild rice, so I just took my same recipe, and replaced the bread with cooked wild rice.
It was fantastic.
I don’t really follow a recipe precisely, but this one is about as close as it gets. If you want to make it, just cook up a whole package of wild rice, I think mine was about 2.5 or 3 cups of dry rice, and then do everything else exactly as you would with your bread stuffing.
Gluten Free Wild Rice Stuffing with Sausage, Leeks, Green Apples, and Craisins
2.5 to 3 cups of wild rice, cooked according to package directions
1 pound mild or sage seasoned sausage, cooked, drained
1/4 cup butter
6 cups coarsely chopped leeks
2 green apples – peeled, cored and chopped
2 cups chopped celery
1 Tb fresh parsley
1 tsp thyme
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 tsp fresh sage, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1.5 cups chicken broth (Keep more on hand in case you need it)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Melt the butter over med heat. Add leaks. Cook until just about soft, then add celery. When both are soft, add to a large casserole dish.
2. Add everything else to the casserole dish, mixing to combine.
3. Bake covered at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Add more chicken broth if it looks like it’s getting dry. Uncover and bake another 15 minutes.
This year, I think I’m going to try doing a half cornbread/half wild rice stuffing. I would cut the cornbread into little pieces, and dry it out in the oven at 200 degrees for 30 minutes or until it feels dry like a crouton. Then I would proceed as written above, only it would take more broth.