The holidays can be a struggle for anyone needing to avoid wheat, gluten, or carbs. But never fear! This delicious wild rice pilaf offers a satisfying alternative to bread-based dishes, such as stuffing. And this rice pilaf puts other pilafs to shame. Stuffed with savory goodies like bacon, cheese, and mushrooms, it is loaded with flavor! It is hearty and especially fantastic during the colder months; it tastes like the holidays in a bowl! Serve it on its own or alongside your favorite protein.
Did you know a pilaf is any rice that has been cooked in stock and seasoned with spices? It’s also common to have meat or veggies tossed in, as well. Once you get the hang of making rice in stock and seasonings, I encourage you to experiment with your favorite flavors. There are so many delicious ways to make a rice pilaf; your only limit is your imagination!
Wild Rice Pilaf
(Original recipe: Iowa Girl Eats)
1-1/2 C wild rice (I prefer Lundberg Wild Rice)
2-1/4 cups chicken broth
1 dried bay leaf
4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
2 TBSP butter
1 large shallot, chopped
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP fresh sage, chopped
1/4 C almonds, sliced
1/4 C Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Add wild rice, chicken broth, bay leaf, and a pinch of salt to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer for 40-45 minutes or until rice is al dente. Let pan sit off the heat with the lid on for 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf, fluff rice with a fork, and set aside.
Meanwhile, brown the bacon in a skillet; transfer to a bowl, reserving bacon fat in skillet. Melt butter in skillet and add shallots, mushrooms, and celery. Once mushrooms have released their liquid and begin to brown, add the dried thyme. Sauté the mixture until the mushrooms and vegetables are tender. Add garlic and fresh sage; sauté until garlic is fragrant, about 2 more minutes.
Remove skillet from heat. Add cooked rice, cooked bacon, chopped almonds, and Parmesan cheese into the pan; stir well to combine. Add a splash of chicken broth if you need to loosen the pilaf up a bit. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.