Rice Stuffing

Every year, I await the arrival of the Food & Wine November issue with great anticipation – at our house, Thanksgiving never has the same menu two years in a row; instead, I usually try out one of F&W’s menus. This year features an Asian-American inspired theme, and as much as I’d like to try it, I think it may be a bit too experimental for the kids. It did make me reconsider the dressing issue, though: I’m really the only person in the family who loves dressing, so maybe I should consider using rice rather than bread as the base? F&W’s chef, Joanne Chang uses Chinese sausage for her dressing, but I really dislike that product – it’s usually highly processed, full of questionable ingredients and often a lot of MSG – so I set out to create a similar recipe using more whole, close to the source, and local ingredients.

You can certainly vary the ingredients based on what’s fresh and local where you live or to include some luxury items, such as papaya or pineapple.

Glutinous rice is an extremely short-grain rice that cooks up sticky and is often used in sweet dishes – it is often called “sticky rice” or “sweet rice” for these reasons – and is available in white or brown.

I’ve simplified the steps and made the final cooking take place in a steamer, freeing up the oven in case you are making this for Thanksgiving and need the space.

I’ve reduced the recipe amounts to make approximately 4 servings – it’s easily multiplied if you want to use it for a larger gathering.

ingredients:

  • 1/4 c dried sweet cherries or raisins
  • 1 c glutinous rice – I like a mix of white and brown
  • 1 T cooking oil or bacon fat
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 1/4 lb fresh shiitake mushroom caps, cut into 1/4″ dice – you can save the stems for making stock
  • 2 oz ham, cut into 1/4″ dice
  • 1 tart apple, cut into 1/4″ dice
  • 1/4 c Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 2 T light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 T chopped cilantro

method:

  1. Soak the cherries in water overnight to plump them up, then drain and set aside.
  2. Combine the wine, soy sauce, and sugar, stirring until sugar dissolves, then set aside.
  3. Cook the rice according to the Basic Steamed Rice recipe, then allow it to come to room temperature.
  4. Heat a wok over medium-high heat, then add the cooking oil and heat just until it shimmers.
  5. Explode the shallot and scallions just until fragrant, then add the diced mushrooms, stirfrying for approximately 1 m.
  6. Add the ham, apples, and cherries and stir just until heated through.
  7. Combine all the ingredients gently – the easiest way to do this is by wetting your hands with cold water and using them to gently mix the ingredients together.
  8. Grease a glass or ceramic dish, then put the rice mixture inside it.
  9. Steam the rice until heated through, approximately 30-45 m (longer if you’ve multiplied the recipe).
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