Pilaf with Cranberries, Sweet Potato and Pecans
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth, or any depending on your preference
- 1 1/2 cups apple juice
- 2 teaspoons mustard
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoons pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup wild rice blend, rinsed
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 stalks celery
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 1 sweet potato, scrubbed and chopped into small bite-size pieces
- 2 fuji apples, cored and chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup pecans, roasted and chopped
- Fresh thyme and rosemary, to garnish
Prepare the Rice
Add the vegetable broth, apple juice, Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon of the butter, salt, pepper, parsley, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, and bay leaf to a boil over high heat. Add the rice to the simmering broth and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and cover.
Cook the Rice
After approximately 20-25 minutes, begin checking the rice at regular 5-minute intervals for doneness. The liquid will be mostly absorbed, but this may also vary greatly depending on the type of rice used. To check if your rice is done, simply try it yourself, or smash a grain between your thumb and index finger. The rice should not be mushy- some firmness is good. Once the rice has finished cooking, strain the rice through a fine mesh strainer and (optional)set the broth aside in a separate bowl.
Cook the vegetables
In a separate pot or using the same pot that the rice had been cooked in, heat a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and onion to the skillet. Cook the onion for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Add the celery, carrots, and sweet potato to the pot and mix well to combine. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and sauté for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add apples and continue to cook for an additional 5-6 minutes, or until apples are tender. Finally, add the garlic, stir, and cook for an additional minute.
Return the Rice
Reduce heat to medium-low and return the drained rice back to the skillet. Stir in the apple cider vinegar, dried cranberries, and pecans. Mix to combine.
Garnish and Serve
Remove rice from heat and add additional seasoning, as needed. Garnish with fresh thyme and rosemary, if desired.
Note: You may also cook this dish in one pot by waiting to cook the vegetables until the rice has finished cooking Simple use the rice pot to sauté the onion, sweet potatoes, and apple. To make this recipe vegan: swap the butter for a vegan butter alternative and use vegetable broth or water to simmer the rice. I used Lundberg Wild Rice Blend for this recipe.