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Rice on the Wild Side

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1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup uncooked wild rice
1 cup finely chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 cups orange juice
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups diced sweet potatoes (about 1 pound)
2 cups diced butternut squash (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cranberries
1/2 cup toasted pecans

Melt butter in a heavy 3-quart Dutch oven. When butter is melted and hot, add wild rice and onions. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. While rice and onions are cooking, bring orange juice and broth to a boil. You can do this in a 4-cup glass measure in the microwave oven or in a saucepot on the stove. Add garlic to wild rice mixture and cook for 2 more minutes. Stir in honey and blend well. Add hot liquid mixture to pot along with salt, coriander, cardamom and nutmeg. Stir in the sweet potatoes and squash. Bake, covered, in a preheated 350-degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove cover and stir in chopped fresh cranberries. Replace cover and bake for another 15 to 30 minutes, until rice and squash are tender and almost all of the liquid has cooked away. Sprinkle with toasted pecans and serve. Makes 8 side servings.

Tips from the cook

Some grocery stores and natural food stores offer spices in their bulk food department. It allows shoppers to buy spices such as coriander and cardamom, which may be used only occasionally, in small quantities rather than having to buy a whole jar. Purchasing spices in small quantities ensures fresh flavor.

Toast pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet in a 350-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes. I toast a pound of pecan halves at a time. Once they are cool, I store them in a sealed jar in my pantry. I use them regularly. Used only occasionally, pecans should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer to preserve freshness.

 

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