***Visit the "Blog" page for the incredible history and health benefits of this ancient grain!
Now, if you think this is too fancy for an ordinary dinner, save it for a holiday, or for your Sunday dinner! It's really not as complicated as it looks, and if you don't want to fuss with making and piping the puree, you can also bake your sweet potatoes (yams), slice open, and "stuff" with the wild rice pilaf- it's a vegetable and starch in one! The textures of the wild rice are a beautifully delicious pairing with the creamy, sweet, richness of the sweet potato. The wild rice pilaf consists of a perfect combination of both sweet and savory items: fresh and crisp pear, dried cherries, mushrooms, kale, scallions, smoky bacon, with a "splash" of rich Balsamic vinegar.....mmmmmm.... it is so good!
I recently served this as a side dish with my "Hard Cider Pork Loin Roast"!
Yields: 9-12 servings (If using as a holiday side item)
or about 6 servings as a standard dinner side dish
Wild Rice Pilaf:
1/2 cup Wild Rice (true- not blended)***Yields 2 cups of cooked rice.
1- 12oz. can chicken broth
2 T. butter
4 oz. fresh mushrooms
1 scallion (chopped)
handful of dried cherries
4 slices of cooked bacon (chopped)
2 oz. of Kale (chopped or whole baby leaves)
1 T. fresh parsley
Salt & pepper to taste
couple dashes of good Balsamic Vinegar
**Omit the bacon if making this vegetarian.
Sweet Potato Puree:
2 good size sweet potatoes or yams
2 T. butter
1-2 T. milk or **orange juice (orange juice adds sweetness, flavor, and extra vitamins!)
**1-2 T. of flour or pecan meal (if necessary to thicken puree prior to piping)
1) In a medium sauce pot, heat the can of chicken broth and some salt on medium or high until it comes to a boil. Add the wild rice, cover, and cook for a good 45-50min., or until all liquid has been absorbed, and the rice has quadrupled in content. (1/2 cup of uncooked wild rice produces 2 cups of cooked!) **Bake, boil, or microwave bake the potatoes while rice is cooking.
2) In a saute pan, melt the butter on medium heat. Add the mushrooms, pear, scallion, cherries, kale (if Tuscan), parsley, and bacon, and saute until cooked. (If using fresh baby kale- it cooks quickly, so add towards end of cooking!)
Season with salt & pepper, and at Balsamic vinegar at the end. Add this mixture into the cooked wild rice, stir, cover to keep warm, and set aside.
3) For potato puree: preheat oven to 375F. You can either put the potatoes through a ricer, or you can add the butter and liquid and place in a blender, food processor, or use a hand mixer or "Stick" blender. (I don't recommend mashing by hand, because you do not want any chunks in the puree- should be completely smooth!) You do not want the puree to be on the thin side, (may be easy for piping, but not for lifting off of sheet tray after baked!) It should be a good medium thickness. On a silpat or foil lined sheet tray, pipe out 9-12 round, double-layered rings- using a pastry bag and large star tip. (Refer to pic above for visual.) Make sure to pipe some on the bottom as well.
Place in the 375F oven for 12-15min., or until potatoes start to brown at very edge. Remove, and allow to cool for about 5 min. Take a tablespoon, and scoop some of the wild rice pilaf onto the top/center of each sweet potato. With a flat spatula, carefully transfer to the plate or serving platter, and serve right away! ***You could also pipe the sweet potato puree into buttered ramekins as well, and serve that way!