Wild Rice, Almond and Mushroom Stuffing or Pilaf

This week’s recipes include my favorite Thanksgiving dishes, the ones I make every year (and then wonder why I don’t make them at other times). Several other Thanksgiving standbys have already been posted here. I always serve a salad, and some of my favorites include endive, apple and walnut salad, curried Waldorf salad, and spinach salad with seared shiitake mushrooms. If you like mashed potatoes, try this version with kale for a change. I like a plain green vegetable with the meal, too: steamed or blanched green beans, or broccoli with no embellishment.Next week I’ll offer a few alternatives to the pies that always do us in after the big holiday meal. I’ve stuffed turkeys with this savory mixture of wild rice, mushrooms and almonds, and I’ve also served it as a side dish. Either way it makes a welcome addition to my Thanksgiving table, particularly welcome for vegetarians.


For the wild rice, almond and mushroom stuffing or pilaf

  • 1 ½ quarts chicken stock, turkey stock, or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups wild rice
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion or 4 shallots, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ pound mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • ⅓ cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • ⅓ cup dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage (to taste)
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste


For the wild rice, almond and mushroom stuffing or pilaf

  1. Bring the stock to a boil in a large saucepan or stock pot, and add the wild rice and salt to taste. When the liquid returns to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer 40 minutes, until the rice is tender and has begun to splay. Drain through a strainer, and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet, and add the onion or shallots. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about five minutes for onions or three minutes for shallots. Add a generous pinch of salt and the garlic. Cook until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute, and add the mushrooms and the celery. Cook, stirring, until the mushrooms have softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the rice and the remaining ingredients. Cook, stirring, until the sherry has evaporated. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool before stuffing your turkey, or place in an oiled baking dish and cover. Warm for 20 to 30 minutes in a 350-degree oven.