The third in our six-part series of quick dinners featuring whole grains calls for wild rice, which is neither rice nor a whole grain; it is an aquatic grass. But its nutritional profile deserves whole-grain props. Wild rice contains more protein than brown rice, and it's also a good source of lysine and fiber.
The cooking time for wild rice can be unpredictable, but instant wild rice is parboiled and usually takes about 10 minutes. Cookbook author Lorna Sass likes using Haddon House brand and Reese All Natural Quick Cooking Minnesota Wild Rice (we found the Reese rice at Whole Foods Market). Lundberg makes pouches of shelf-stable precooked wild rice that finishes in 25 minutes; if you use it, adjust the recipe times accordingly. Or substitute fully cooked, ready-to-eat wild rice, which is available in shelf-stable pouches.
Serve this juicy, sweet and quick salad with warm corn bread or as a second course after mushroom soup. Leftovers are great for a next-day lunch.
Servings: 3 - 4
- 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups instant wild rice, preferably Reese or Haddon House brands (may substitute Lundberg brand quick-cooking wild rice, which takes 15 minutes longer to cook than instant wild rice; see headnote)
- 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/8 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 cup whole hazelnuts, preferably skinned
- 3/4 to 1 pound cooked roast turkey (may substitute cooked ham)
- 2 navel or blood oranges
- 2 ripe Bosc pears (may substitute 1 medium Granny Smith apple)
- 1/3 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
- 3 tablespoons low-fat or regular mayonnaise (do not use nonfat)
- 2/3 cup orange juice
Combine the rice, water and salt in a heavy (2-quart) Dutch oven; bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and reduce the heat to medium so that the water just bubbles at the edges of the pot. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, then uncover and stir thoroughly. Turn off the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 to 7 minutes.
Place the hazelnuts in a small, dry skillet over medium heat. Toast the nuts for about 4 minutes, stirring or shaking the skillet often, until they darken in color and become fragrant. Remove from the heat.
While the nuts are toasting, cut the roast turkey into bite-size chunks; place in a large serving bowl.
Peel and section the oranges, discarding as much of the pith and membranes as possible (see NOTE). Discard the cores of the pears, then cut the pears into bite-size chunks. Add the fruit to the bowl, along with the cooled hazelnuts and the dried cranberries. (If the nuts need to be skinned, place the warm hazelnuts in a clean, dry kitchen towel and rub vigorously to dislodge the skins.)
Whisk together the mayonnaise and orange juice in a liquid measuring cup.
When the rice is done, drain off any unabsorbed liquid (if necessary), then add the rice to the bowl, tossing to incorporate. Add the dressing and mix to coat evenly; taste and add salt if needed. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
NOTE: To section citrus, use a large chef's knife to slice off both ends of the fruit. Stand the fruit on end and slice downward along the curve of the fruit, cutting away both the peel and pith while leaving as much of the fruit as possible. Using a paring knife, cut between the sections to detach each section of fruit from its surrounding membrane.
Adapted from Sass's "Whole Grains for Busy People" (Clarkson Potter, 2009).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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