Fried Wild Rice with Hazelnuts and Kale is a tasty and elegant side that goes well with poultry, fish, or meat. Perfect for serving a crowd during the holidays.
Can you believe it’s already almost Thanksgiving?
This year has definitely flown by for me. I made the decision to start this blog around the beginning of the year, and now it’s been up for a couple months.
My family goes to my aunt’s house in Connecticut for Thanksgiving. I think this will be the last year Jonathan and I go to our own families separately for Thanksgiving, since we’ll be married by this time next year. (No date yet, I need to work on planning!)
My favorite parts of the meal are the turkey my aunt makes, my mom’s homemade rolls, and my grandma’s cranberry apple sauce.
Are any of you hosting Thanksgiving dinner or cooking a dish to bring to Thanksgiving? Check out this side dish.
I really like wild rice, but I wanted to do something with it other than the normal pilaf. I decided to try making a fried wild rice, and I really like how it came out.
I first got the idea to make fried wild rice from this recipe from Iowa Girl Eats, which actually uses a wild rice blend. The only place I’ve seen affordable plain wild rice (not mixed in with other types of rice) is Trader Joe’s. It’s kind of funny how they call it “Cultivated Wild Rice” because it’s actually farmed. True wild grown wild rice is much harder to find.
Fried rice is traditionally made with leftover white rice. When white rice is freshly steamed, it’s too wet to fry well. Leftover rice dries out and fries up better. In this recipe, I start out with cooked wild rice so it has a chance to dry out a bit. I recommend cooking it a day or two before you make the fried wild rice. Cook the rice in chicken broth (mushroom broth if there’s a vegetarian in your party) to add some flavor. I cooked 1 ½ cups of dry wild rice and got almost exactly 5 cups of cooked wild rice. I cooked mine for an hour.
While you’re waiting for the rice to cook, you can also prepare your hazelnuts. Here’s a great article from Fine Cooking that goes over two different methods to remove the peel from hazelnuts. (If you can buy already peeled hazelnuts, lucky you!) I used the blanching method and then toasted them in the oven. It was pretty easy and quick. But if you don’t want to bother with skinning hazelnuts, you can just buy blanched almonds.
Here are my prepared ingredients. There’s the cooked wild rice, baby kale, shallots, celery, skinned hazelnuts, dried cherries (you can substitute dried cranberries), and some minced garlic.
I started out cooking the shallots and celery in some butter, then added the garlic and then the kale.
The hazelnuts, cherries, and wild rice get added in at the end. Once your ingredients are prepared, this dish cooks so quickly. You can do the ingredient prep in advance and also cook the final dish in advance. Reheat in the microwave and you can’t tell it’s not freshly made.
If you want to do a test run before Thanksgiving and are wondering what to make for your main course, I think this fried wild rice goes great with my Engagement Chicken.
Looking for more side dish ideas?
Many of the dinner recipes I’ve shared on the blog have side dishes included as part of the recipe. There’s no reason you can’t make the side dishes on their own, without the main courses. If you have any questions on this or on timing for the side dishes, leave a comment or send me a note.
There are the oven fries I included as part of my Lomo Saltado recipe:
Sweet potato oven fries I included with this Cornish Hen recipe:
The sweet potato mash with sage butter I included as part of the Pumpkin Seed Crusted Salmon recipe. This is a good make-ahead option, just heat in the microwave. I love the fall flavors in this one.
Puréed Celery Root I made to go with my Apple Cider Braised Short Ribs. This is another good make-ahead option and a great dish to serve if any of your guests are eating low-carb.
I’d love to hear, what is your family planning for Thanksgiving? What are your favorite sides? Let me know in the comments.
Fried Wild Rice with Hazelnuts and Kale
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 small shallots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- salt and pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 ounces baby kale
- 1 cup skinned hazelnuts
- 3/4 cup dried cherries (or cranberries)
- 5 cups cooked wild rice
- Heat a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and butter. When butter is melted, add shallots and celery. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots and celery soften, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 more minutes, stirring often, until garlic is fragrant.
- Turn heat to medium-high. Add kale and a little more salt and pepper. Cook until kale is mostly wilted. Stir as it cooks down.
- Add hazelnuts, cherries, and wild rice. Stir to combine. Cook 4-5 more minutes, stirring often, until the rice is heated through. Season to taste.
Wild rice should be cooked 1-2 days in advance. Cook rice in chicken broth (or mushroom broth for vegetarians) for added flavor.
Blanch hazelnuts to peel and toast in advance, unless using skinless nuts to start. (See full post for more details.)