July 12, 2007

Wild Rice Salad with Dried Sour Cherries

A few weeks back we had some friends over and I served Vichyssoise, Wild Rice Salad with Dried Sour Cherries, Green Bean and Radish Salad, and an array of sausages (chicken and apple, Polish, spinach and feta, and Italian). For dessert we had biscuits with sweetened strawberries and cream.

The recipes for everything except the sausages and dessert were out of various Saveur magazines. The Wild Rice Salad with Dried Sour Cherries is from the June/July 2004 issue.

1/2 cup wild rice
5 cups chicken stock
4 sliced bacon, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup dried sour cherries
1 rib celery, diced
1 scallion, trimmed and chopped
leaves from 5 sprigs parsley, chopped
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Put rice into a medium pot, cover with water, and swish around with your hand. Drain; repeat process until water remains clear, 3-4 more times. Drain rice and return to pot. Add stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir rice once or twice and reduce heat to medium-low. Partially cover pot and cook rice until grains are swollen and tender but not blossomed, 50-60 minutes. Drain rice in a colander and let rest, undisturbed, for 10 minutes. (Disturbed rice can become very... disturbing!) Transfer rice to a large bowl to let cool.

2. Cook bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer bacon and 2 tbsp. of the rendered bacon fat to bowl with rice. Add dried cherries, celery, scallions, parsley, and vinegar and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish salad with a sprig of parsley, if you like, and serve at room temperature.

Meg's Final Thoughts

This was pretty darn yummy. I used dried cherried that I'd gotten last summer in Traverse City, MI. I'm not even sure they were sour, exactly, but they worked just fine. The only thing that went wrong while making this recipe is that I tried using a rice cooker and put the lid all the way on. The rice boiled an hour longer than it should have (and "blossomed") and much of the liquid was still there. I had to pour it off. *shrug* It was a waste of broth, but I don't think the salad suffered. I'll definitely be making this again.

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