Wild Rice Harvest Salad
1 cup wild rice
3 cups water
1 tsp salt, divided, plus more
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium butternut squash (2 1/2 to 3 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 7 cups)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
2/3 cup dried cranberries, soaked in 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (re-use for a vinaigrette)
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425°F.
Rinse rice well under cold running water. Transfer to a large pot and add water and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and simmer until the rice is chewy and some of the grains have burst open, about 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, turn off heat, but do not remove the lid. Steam, undisturbed for another 15 minutes. Meanwhile, roast the squash. Place the squash on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and season with pepper and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; toss to combine. Spread into a single layer. Roast, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender and beginning to brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
Return the saucepan used to cook the rice to the stove and melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and thyme and sauté until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the rice. Gently fold in the squash, cranberries, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and parsley. Taste and season with more salt as needed. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. It’s delicious chilled the next day as well.
Yield: 8 servings