Happy Week-After-Christmas! It’s been a while since I’ve posted an “Experimental Cook” recipe, so here’s the recipe for my new favorite side dish–Wild Rice Casserole from the November/December 2016 issue of Victoria magazine! We girls at the house love our magazines, and Victoria is definitely a favorite. My friend Melissa Lester, who blogs at A Little Loveliness, is Associate Editor of the magazine and a fantastically gifted writer, so it’s always a delight to discover an issue in the mailbox every other month!
I made this Wild Rice Casserole for Christmas lunch and my sisters asked for the recipe, so I thought I’d share it with you all today. Forgive the poor photo quality! We were in such a rush to get out the door for my parents’ house, I only had time for a quick snapshot with my phone as I wrapped it for transport.
WILD RICE CASSEROLE
6 slices bacon, 2 Tbsp. drippings reserved
1 bunch kale
5 Tbsp. butter, divided
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped fennel
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 quart chicken broth, divided
1 cup wild rice
1/3 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
In a large sauté pan, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp; remove from pan, and let drain on paper towels. Reserve 2 tablespoons grease. When bacon is cool, crumble and set aside.
In the same pan, wilt kale, in batches, in reserved grease. Remove kale and set aside.
In the same pan, melt 3 Tbsp. butter over medium-high heat. Add onion, fennel, and celery, and cook until tender, about 3 minutes; remove from heat.
In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups chicken broth and remaining 2 Tbsp. butter to boil over high heat. Once mixture boils, reduce heat to medium-high. Add rice and cover; reduce heat to medium, and simmer until rice is fully cooked, about 20 minutes.
Coat a 2 1/2 quart baking dish with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine rice mixture, vegetable mixture, kale, remaining 1 cup broth, and reserved bacon. Spoon into prepared baking dish.
Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with bread crumbs, and bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool slightly before serving.
(I tripled this recipe for our crew.)
This casserole was delicious and flavorful! We loved the kale in it! It would make a great accompaniment to a number of entrees: pork, beef, chicken, or shrimp dishes. I’m thinking of trying it again with crumbled sausage or small sautéed shrimp stirred in to make it an entrée in and of itself. Joel and the children all voted that it goes in the dinner rotation and on the holiday sides list. It might even make another appearance at our New Year’s lunch!
Later this week I’ll share two more of our family’s favorite holiday recipes: Red Velvet Cheesecake and Salmon Spread!