Filling my kitchen with the aroma of cozy, comforting and delicious foods is one of my absolute favorite things about Thanksgiving. Serving a home cooked meal using quality ingredients with friends or family is one way that I can share with the people I care most about!
Right alongside a roasted turkey, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie, stuffing is the perfect dish loaded with earthy autumnal flavors. It’s also an excuse for me to get creative with RiceSelect® varieties, resulting in a side with a richer taste than any version I’ve made with bread. I’ll take you through my thought process when I create rice stuffing or dressing with recipe ideas and suggestions for you to unleash your creative side. But first, is there actually any difference between dressing and stuffing?
While some might say it depends on where you live, the truth is that technically the difference lies in how they are cooked. Traditional Thanksgiving stuffing consists of a seasoned blend that is cooked inside of the turkey as a filling, while a dressing is essentially the same mix but cooked outside in a separate vessel.
While many people have stopped filling the actual turkey cavity, the word stuffing remains right alongside dressing as one of the most commonly used to describe this quintessential part of any Thanksgiving spread!
As a foodie myself, I love a good classic dish, but there is always room for more exploration in the kitchen, and the holidays are the perfect time to add an innovative touch to some staples you may have enjoyed year after year. I absolutely love to add rice and grains to my stuffing. I believe it adds an elegant and refined touch to the meal and it’s also well-suited for guests who don't eat bread or wheat.
For this, I know there is only one rice brand that has the sophistication I’m looking for to create my meals, and that’s RiceSelect®. With such a wide variety of premium products, my meals are always unforgettable.
Note: If you’re still not ready to give up the traditional bread stuffing or dressing, why not try making your own Texmati® Brown Rice Bread to give your dish a wonderful homemade touch.
I’ll give you the keys you need to make an incredible stuffing or dressing this year with a few elevated ingredient additions. You can also make it your own with Autumn Fall Ingredients to savor the season.
The first step is to choose which rice grains you will be using, or Quinoa if desired. The options are truly endless with RiceSelect®. For a classic touch, try using Texmati® or Jasmati® White or Brown Rice.
If you want a pop of color, I suggest Premium Black Rice, or my personal favorite a Royal Blend® of different rice varieties like White, Brown, Wild & Red Rice for contrasting texture, taste and appearance. Use this colorful blend to enhance your spread and add a natural nutty taste to this Royal Pecan Rice Stuffing recipe!
If you are a fan of pasta and feeling adventurous you can also try adapting an Orzo recipe or use Arborio Rice to make a good stuffing.
Once you have your grain chosen, create complex and deeply developed flavors with a base of aromatics, usually found in the form of a mirepoix of sautéed onion, carrot and celery with butter or oil. Of course, I encourage you to experiment with different flavors as you see fit by using a bit of bacon grease with the cooking fat or swapping in other vegetables such as leek, garlic or even an entirely different sofrito blend.
Second, while the name might deceive you, poultry seasoning is an entirely meat-free combination of herbs and seasoning that adds flavor to both vegetarian and meat stuffing or dressing recipes. Try making your own to use in this Pecan Rice Stuffing Recipe combining a bit of sage, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, nutmeg, black pepper and salt.
After you’ve got a flavorful base using aromatic vegetables or seasonings to be included, get creative with more complementing ingredients such as mushrooms, Italian sausage, or seafood like shrimp and oysters. Add a touch of sweetness with raisins or crunchiness with nuts and a savory touch of cheese.
Make your own Classic Rice Stuffing Recipe using the information below as a guide. Get creative with your favorite vegetables or meat and aromatic blends to add a personalized touch to your Thanksgiving table.
1 cup, uncooked Royal Blend® Texmati® White, Brown & Red Rice (Substitute whole grain Royal Blend® Rice Varieties with Wild Rice or Red Rice if desired)
¼ cup butter
¾ cup onion, chopped
¾ cup celery, chopped
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning (or to taste)
½ cup toasted pecans, chopped
¼ cup parsley, chopped
½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
¼ teaspoon pepper
Step 1: Prepare rice according to package directions.
Step 2: Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery and poultry seasoning. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
Step 3: Combine rice, onion mixture, pecans, parsley and salt and pepper.
For a truly wonderful spread on your table, try serving your dish or recipe in an entirely new way! This might be in the form of a new container or making the container itself edible. Stuff vegetables both large like butternut squash or small such as these Wild Rice (Royal Blend) & Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms. Or, to really add a new touch to your holiday spread, prepare a Royal Stuffed Pork Loin as a celebratory main dish in place of or addition to the turkey.
I want to encourage everyone to share their holiday rice stuffing and dressing recipes, or a completely new idea such as one of your favorite easy Pearl Couscous recipes with me! Stay connected by tagging @riceselect in your photos on social media.