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I grew up as a nice Jewish girl in Brooklyn. I learned to cook, to be ready to be a good Jewish wife. My training did not include Christmas turkey.

Brian and I easily reached our holiday menu compromise. We both love that Thanksgiving turkey. For Christmas, we strive for something new. This year it was braised duck, Indian spiced cauliflower, and wild rice pilaf with cherries and pecans. Plus holiday cookies for dessert. This menu was so good, we think you’d love it for New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. So we’ll start tonight with the recipe for that great rice pilaf.

Pure wild rice is, well, a tad intense. So this recipe, as so many, blends wild and long-grain brown rice for a distinct flavor. Add some shallots, a little ginger, and some dried cherries and you have sweetness and spice added to the crunchiness of the rich. A taste or two of this dish, and no one will be mentioning mashed potatoes.

This recipe is from Eat Feed Autumn Winter by Anne Bramley. Anne has prepared menus and recipes for 30 different cold weather feasts. We mixed and matched this year, picking this rice dish and the cauliflower. If you love dinner parties, but are menu challenged, then this book is a resource you can depend on. It’s a pathway to worry-free entertaining.

Wild Rice Pilaf with Cherries and Pecans

Yield: serves 8


  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup minced shallots
  • 1 cup long-grain brown rice
  • 2 cups unsalted chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • Pinch of ground ginger
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • ¾ cup coarsely chopped, toasted, salted pecans (about 3 ounces)


Cook the wild rice according to the package directions.

While the wild rice cooks, prepare the brown rice. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring constantly until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the brown rice and stir to coat with butter. Add the chicken broth, salt, pepper, coriander and ginger. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 40 minutes until he rice is tender.

Stir in the dried cherries, cover and set aside for 10 minutes.

Add the wild rice to the brown rice mixture. Stir in the pecans just before serving.

Tasting Notes:

We used turkey, not chicken, stock. Our Thanksgiving bird had been saved for a day, the meat stripped away, and the carcass combined with lots of veggies. We had 6 quarts of high intensity stock. This rice benefited.

By all means, you can increase the cherries or used cranberries or try other fruits here.

Source: Eat Feed Autumn Winter by Anne Bramley