A side dish that com­ple­ments any meat or fish

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FOOD - By Melissa D’ara­bian

We all have our fa­vorite win­ter dishes and mine is stuff­ing — or dress­ing, tech­ni­cally, since I don’t stuff it in a turkey.

The clas­sic fla­vors lull me into feel­ing like I’m in white-capped moun­tains, even when I live in sunny San Diego and could pull off a Thanks­giv­ing beach bar­be­cue if I were so in­clined. Rosemary, sage, thyme, dried cran­ber­ries and a lit­tle sausage work win­ter-won­der­land magic for me.

My old­est daugh­ter is also a fan. Valen­tine is also gluten in­tol­er­ant. For sev­eral years, I sim­ply made my hol­i­day dress­ing with dried gluten-free bread cubes, but we wanted other op­tions that didn’t in­volve fuss­ing with gluten-free breads whose tex­ture can be un­pre­dictable in a dress­ing recipe. This Wild Rice Hol­i­day Stove­top Dress­ing fits the bill.

It has all the clas­sic taste of my grandma’s hol­i­day stuff­ing, and none of the gluten, so my daugh­ter can en­joy it. Plus, it’s pulled to­gether in un­der 30 min­utes in one pan on the stove. Easy. (You can also use brown rice if you pre­fer, which will add a lit­tle ex­tra fiber and pro­tein, but note that the cook­ing time will be longer.)

One link of turkey sausage is enough to add fla­vor and rich­ness, so this dish is com­fort­ing without be­ing overly heavy. Note, you can omit sausage en­tirely and use veg­etable broth to make this dish veg­e­tar­ian. Typ­i­cal hol­i­day herbs — rosemary, thyme and sage — can be dried or fresh, so use what­ever you are buy­ing for the rest of your meal.

Cubed but­ter­nut squash adds a touch of wel­comed color, sweet­ness and vi­ta­mins — feel free to change up the squash/rice ra­tio and add more if you want a more veg-lean­ing side. A small sprin­kling of dried cran­ber­ries and pecans com­plete the hol­i­day touch. But, feel free to serve this dish any­time — it’s a per­fect com­ple­ment to any grilled or roasted meat or fish.

Wild rice stove­top dress­ing

Start to fin­ish: 25 min­utes Serv­ings: 4 1 tea­spoon olive oil 1 link sweet Ital­ian turkey sausage, cas­ing re­moved 1⁄2 cup chopped cel­ery 1⁄2 cup chopped yel­low onion 3 cloves gar­lic, minced 1 cup but­ter­nut squash cubes 1⁄2 tea­spoon dried thyme, or 1 tea­spoon fresh thyme, chopped 1⁄2 tea­spoon dried rubbed sage, or 1 tea­spoon fresh sage, chopped 1 tea­spoon dried rosemary, or 2 tea­spoons fresh chopped rosemary 1 1⁄4 cup wild rice blend (usu­ally wild rice and bas­mati mixed) 3⁄4 cup chicken or turkey broth 3⁄4 cup wa­ter 1⁄4 cup dried cran­ber­ries 1⁄4 cup chopped toasted pecans salt and pep­per

Cook the sausage in the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat, un­til meat is golden, about 4 min­utes. Add in the cel­ery and onion and cook un­til soft­ened, about 3 more min­utes. Add the gar­lic, squash cubes, herbs and rice blend and saute for 1 minute. Add the broth and wa­ter, and raise tem­per­a­ture to high and bring to a boil.

Once boil­ing, stir the rice once, and then cover and re­duce the tem­per­a­ture to low and al­low to sim­mer gen­tly, cov­ered tightly, for 15 min­utes. Turn off the heat, toss in the dried cran­ber­ries (quickly cov­er­ing again) and let sit cov­ered tightly for 5 min­utes. Re­move the lid, stir, taste for sea­son­ing, add toasted pecans and serve.

Nu­tri­tion in­for­ma­tion per serv­ing: 314 calo­ries; 80 calo­ries from fat; 9 g fat (1 g sat­u­rated; 0 g trans fats); 4 mg choles­terol; 554 mg sodium; 58 g car­bo­hy­drate; 6 g fiber; 8 g sugar; 7 g pro­tein.

Food Net­work star Melissa d’Ara­bian is an ex­pert on healthy eat­ing on a bud­get. She is the au­thor of the cook­book “Su­per­mar­ket Healthy.” On­line: http://www.melis­sadara­bian.net

MELISSA D’ARA­BIAN VIA AP

This photo shows wild rice dress­ing in Coro­n­ado This dish is from a recipe by Melissa d’Ara­bian.

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