Bread stuffing is classic for Thanksgiving, but it isn’t the only choice. In this recipe by the cookbook author Nancy Harmon Jenkins, wild rice takes on the starchy role, while sausage and cranberries lend richness and tang. You can mix the elements together one day ahead, then bake just before serving.
- 1 pound wild rice
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 tablespoons butter, more for greasing baking dish
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced
- 4 Italian-style sweet fennel sausages
- 3 cups cranberries (258 grams)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (12 grams), or to taste
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 to 3 teaspoons chopped fresh sage (optional)
- Place wild rice in a saucepan and pour over just enough boiling water to cover. Set aside, covered, for one hour. Drain rice. Add fresh boiling water to cover by half an inch, and the bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook gently until rice is soft but not mushy, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well, discard bay leaf, and set aside.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2-quart gratin dish or a 9×13 baking dish if not stuffing into a turkey.
- Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a sauté pan over medium heat and gently cook the onions until soft, about 7 minutes. Remove skins from sausages and add sausage meat to the pan with the onions. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook, crumbling the sausage with a fork, until it is browned. Remove from the heat and stir in the wild rice.
- Rinse cranberries, picking them over and discarding any that are spoiled. Chop them roughly or process them briefly in a food processor. Add to the sausage-rice mixture and mix well. Add salt, pepper and sage if using and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning.
- Either stuff into a turkey or pour into the prepared dish. Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into small pieces and dot the top. Cover the dish with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top is lightly golden. Serve warm.