Wild Rice Dressing (or stuffing) is a delicious side dish made with wild rice, ground pork, onions, mushrooms, and dried cranberries. If you love wild rice, be sure to try my Chicken Wild Rice Casserole and Chicken Wild Rice Soup, too!
Wild Rice Dressing
With Thanksgiving in the name, it makes sense to add this side dish to your Thanksgiving menu. However, don’t limit this dish to just the holidays. It is a wonderful and flavorful side dish that can be enjoyed year-round. With the added ground pork, this could even be a light main dish served with a side of homemade cornbread.
Wild Rice: In spite of its name, wild rice is not rice; it is found in the seed of an aquatic plant that grows in streams, rivers, and lakes (it’s a grain). Be sure to rinse and drain rice before cooking.
Chicken Stock: If you don’t have any on hand, make your own homemade chicken stock. Chicken stock is different than chicken broth in that stock is generally made from the bones of a chicken and broth is made primarily from the meat. They can be used interchangeably, but the stock has a heavier flavor.
Ground Pork: Adding pork to this dish gave it a little more substance. You could leave it out if desired.
Dried Cranberries: We had tested this recipe without cranberries, and then added a few just to try it. Well, the dried cranberries put this dressing over the top in deliciousness. Again, like the pork, you could leave them out (but at least have some on hand to try adding them later).
How to Cook Wild Rice
Just a quick note on cooking wild rice. Wild rice is a fickle little grain, but if you cook it properly, the results are a wonderful deep earthy flavor that is perfect all by itself or in a salad or as a side dish (like this one). In this recipe, I cooked the wild rice in chicken stock for added flavor. This takes about an hour, so plan for that.
First, rinse and drain the wild rice. Then, add the rice and chicken stock to a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Bring the mixture to a boil. After it has come to a boil, cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and let the rice simmer for about an hour. The rice will be tender when cooked and most of the grains will be split open. Drain the rice and put it back into the pot, covered, to keep warm.
How to Make Wild Rice Dressing
With the rice cooked, it’s time to get the rest of the ingredients put together and added to the rice. First, in a medium skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the ground pork and cook for about 10 minutes, or until there is no pink. Add the cooked pork to the pot with the cooked wild rice. You can also add dried cranberries to the wild rice at this time.
Next, in the same skillet, melt the remaining butter and cook the onions and mushrooms. Once both are cooked and most of the liquid is gone, add this mixture to the wild rice. Mix everything together and serve warm. Leftovers will last up to three days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Difference Between Dressing and Stuffing
Easy! Dressing is traditionally prepared in a pan outside the turkey. Stuffing can be the same recipe as a dressing, however, it is stuffed into the cavity of poultry. This recipe works best as a dressing.
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Wild Rice Dressing
Thanksgiving Wild Rice Dressing is a delicious side dish made with wild rice, ground pork, onions, mushrooms, and dried cranberries.
- 1 cup wild rice, rinsed and drained
- 1 container (32 ounces) chicken stock
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 pound ground pork
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground thyme
- 1½ cups dried cranberries
- 1 cup yellow onion, diced
- 16 ounces baby Bella mushrooms, sliced ¼-inch thick
- parsley, for garnish
In a medium pot with a tight-fitting lid, add the wild rice and chicken stock. Set to high heat and bring the mixture to a boil, uncovered.
Once boiling, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 60 minutes, or until tender.
After simmering, drain excess liquid and return the rice to the pot. Cover to keep warm.
In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the ground pork, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook until the pork is no longer pink (about 10 minutes) breaking it up as you go.
Add the cooked pork and cranberries to the rice. Stir to combine.
In the same skillet, melt the remaining butter. Add onions and cook for 8-10 minutes (or until softened).
Add mushrooms and the remaining teaspoon of salt. Continue cooking for about 20 more minutes, or until most of the liquid is gone.
Add the onion and mushroom mixture to the rice mixture. Stir to combine.