Autumn is in full swing over here at my house, and I'm loving it- the food that is. I'm loving the food (I can do without 5 days of straight rain). With Halloween over and Thanksgiving just weeks away (whereeee did 2016 go?), all I can think about is... Thanksgiving food (and the leftovers, of course, but I'll save that topic for another day). I will not be hosting Thanksgiving at my house, I will be bringing some side dishes- giving me the perfect excuse to sample them all before the big day and pick a few favorites.
The first (of a very long list) is this Cranberry Apple Pecan Pilaf with Sweet Potatoes.
Not just your average rice dish, this pilaf is loaded with all the flavors of Autumn- earthy walnuts, tart cranberries, sweet apples and fresh herbs.
If you prefer a simpler side with your turkey and gravy, this rice would be delicious with chicken and fish any other day of the week. Or, make it a one-bowl meal and serve with some chopped up leftover chicken all mixed together.
Cranberry Apple Pecan Pilaf with Sweet Potatoes
Prep Time: 15 minutes / Cook Time: 45-55 minutes / Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yield: 6-8 servings (as a side)
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 1/2 cups apple juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1 cup wild rice blend, rinsed
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, scrubbed and chopped into small bite-size pieces
2 Fuji apples, cored and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pecans, roasted and chopped
Fresh thyme and rosemary, to garnish
In a large skillet bring vegetable broth, apple juice, Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon of the butter, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, garlic powder and bay leaf to a boil. Add rice and stir. Cover and reduce heat to low, allowing rice to simmer for 45-50 minutes or until rice is tender (not soggy) and nearly all of the liquid has been absorbed.
Once rice is cooked, drain rice in a fine mesh strainer and set aside.
Return skillet to medium high heat and add 1-2 tablespoons of butter. Add onion, celery and sweet potato to the skillet and stir, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and sauté for 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add apples to the skillet and stir. Continue to cook for an additional 5-6 minutes, or until apples are tender. Add garlic, stir, and cook for an additional minute.
Reduce heat to medium low and return drained rice to the the skillet with the apple cider vinegar, dried cranberries and pecans. Gently mix everything to combine.
Remove rice from heat and add additional seasoning, as needed. Garnish with fresh thyme and rosemary, if desired.