Wild Rice Dressing

1 qt chicken stock
3 C long grain wild rice
3 - 4 stalks celery
1 C baby carrots
2 medium leeks
1 lb shitake mushrooms
2 medium sweet red peppers
1 poblano pepper
12 shallots
a handful of cilantro
1/2 C currants
1 T mild curry powder
1 T Pickapeppa or Worcestershire sauce
1 T prepared mustard
1 T mango chutney syrup
2 T brown sugar
1 C orange juice
1/2 lb country ham or pancetta, finely chopped (optional)
1-2 T sherry or Grand Marnier (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
parsley, chopped, as a garnish

Precook the wild rice in chicken stock until moist and 'al dente.' The amount of stock needed varies according to the method of cooking. A rice cooker works well, taking about an hour, with the same proportions as for white rice.

Chop all of the vegetables into small pieces of varied sizes and shapes, and also chop the cilantro. In a mixing bowl, combine the vegetables and cilantro with the currants, curry, Pickapeppa or Worcestershire, mustard, chutney and sugar, adding a little of the orange juice and remaining chicken stock to moisten the mixture.

Saute the moistened ingredients over high heat in a large electric fry pan for about 15 minutes until the celery is quite tender and the carrots are cooked but still a bit crunchy. Add enough orange juice and chicken stock to keep the ingredients from sticking or browning. If desired, fry the ham separately in a small pan, then add it to the mix. Next, add the wild rice, stir well, and continue sauteing. Add more juice and broth as needed, tasting occasionally until the rice is perfectly tender. Add the salt and pepper.

Finally, transfer the wild rice dressing to a casserole dish, drizzle sherry or Grand Marnier over the top, if desired, and garnish with parsley. Cover and bake in the oven at about 300 for an additional 10-15 minutes just before serving.

My annual signature creation for Thanksgiving. Without the ham it is essentially fat-free. Great with turkey and cranberry sauce!

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