This is the improved version of the first turkey stuffing I made four years ago, the third day after I landed in Southern California, knowing nobody and being unfamiliar not only with my new kitchen but also with a typical Thanksgiving menu.
I still remember searching in one of the nine suitcases we carried with us, my Wüsthof knifes to chop the onions, because, guess what: all my belongings came in a huge container, by sea, but I carried my knifes, perfectly packed, in a suitcase.
After a 3,500 mile journey from Caracas to LA, still with the jetlag and my two little boys only speaking Spanish, I found time to research about turkey stuffing. Since I couldn’t find something really appealing to me, I decided to create my own.
I wanted something festive, so I choose wild rice combined with white rice, raisins and apples. Of course I sautéed onions and garlic and I cooked them with some white wine. The stuffing was really good and I passed the test.
This year I decided to improve it and added bacon bits, because whatever you cook with bacon tastes better. I also added some of my herbs and garlic butter, because it enhances everything. I substituted dried cranberries for raisins and basmati rice (which is long grain rise) for white regular rice, and simmered it with a bouquet garni made of rosemary, thyme and sage.
The other big improvement is the cooking method. This time I cooked my stuffing like a risotto: uncovered and adding the liquids one cup at a time, waiting until they were almost all absorbed to add more.
This stuffing is so good that you can have it by itself, without even touching the bird. It makes a spectacular, full of flavor side dish. I hope you enjoy my recipe and wish you a happy Thanksgiving!
Wild and Basmati Rice Turkey Stuffing with Cranberries, Apples, Bacon and Herbs | Ingredients for 1 big turkey
½ pound (250 gms) of frozen bacon cut in bits
3 Tbs. of herb and garlic butter
1 big onion finely chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
4 celery stalks finely chopped
1 cup wild rice
1 cup basmati rice
1 ½ cups of white wine
4 cups of water
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 sprigs of thyme
1 sprig of sage
3/4 cup of dried cranberries
2 apples peeled, cored and diced
In a big saucepan, cook the bacon over medium heat until golden, 5 minutes.
Take the bacon out of the pan and reserve.
In the bacon fat, melt the herbs and garlic butter.
Add the onions and garlic and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the celery and cook for 3 minutes more.
Add the wild rice and the wine.
Cook until the liquid is almost absorbed.
Add one cup of water and cook, stirring constantly until the liquid is almost absorbed. Add the bacon bits and the cranberries and another cup of water. Cook stirring.
Add one cup of water and the basmati rice.
Add the rest of the water one cup at a time.
When the last cup of water is almost absorbed, check if the two rice varieties are done. You may need to add more water.
Add the apples and stir. Add the herbs and simmer for 5 minutes. Discard de herbs.