This dish looks as festive as the occasion requires, or can fit an everyday vegetarian diet in with nutritional finesse. No matter the occasion, the taste seems richer than the sum of its ingredients.
2 cups Beulah Land Tan, Beulah Land Medley, or Missimati Fragrant Brown Rice
4 cups chicken stock
6 ribs celery, chopped finely
1 large sweet yellow onion, diced
2 medium carrots, sliced into 1/8 inches discs
4 ounces seasonal mushrooms, chopped
1 large kale leaf, ribbed and chopped in small pieces
½ tsp thyme, ground
2 tbsp sweet basil, chopped
1 tbsp black pepper, ground
¾ cup pecans, chopped
¾ cup golden raisins
¾ cup dried cherries
2 apples, peeled and diced
¼ cup sorghum (adds Mississippi mineral-y flavor, but can substitute honey)
¼ cup brandy
1 tsp orange extract
1 bunch green onions, chopped and divided
¼ cup olive oil, divided
Cook brown rice in chicken stock and 2 tbsp cooking oil according to directions until al dente. Set aside.
Macerate raisins and cherries. Blend together sorghum, brandy, and orange extract and microwave until almost boiling. Put the raisins and cherries into a medium mixing bowl, then pour sorghum and brandy mixture over the fruit, blending and submersing. Set aside. After 10 minutes add apples, blend well, and set aside.
In large skillet, lightly toast pecans in 1 tbsp oil and salt; set aside. Add 1 tbsp oil then over medium heat sauté carrots and celery. After 5 minutes, blend in black pepper, thyme, sweet basil, and onion. When onion almost translucent, blend in mushrooms. After 2 minutes, blend in kale and 2/3 of the chopped green onions and heat for 2 more minutes. Then remove from heat and set aside.
Into large mixing bowl, transfer vegetable blend, rice, and pecans and blend well. Add the raisin, cherry, and apple mix, as well as any soaking liquid remaining.Blend well. Transfer to a casserole dish with lid, and bake covered for 25 minutes. Remove lid and bake 5 additional minutes.
Leave in casserole dish or place into serving bowl, garnish with remaining green onions, and enjoy!