Rice Stuffing with Water Chestnuts, Apples and Hazelnuts

November 17, 2012 | By andrea | Filed in: Autumn, Christmas, Holidays, Recipes, Rice, Side Dish, Thanksgiving, Winter.

If you’re looking for a creative stuffing/dressing recipe for this holiday season, you’ll want to give this one a try. I had never tried rice stuffing before and was intrigued by the list of ingredients in this recipe from best-selling author Debbie Macomber: crunchy water chestnuts, toasted hazelnuts, tart apples, and sweet raisins. Hazelnuts (filberts) are grown here in Oregon, so this recipe is a great way to show them off. The delicious rice stuffing is a perfect Autumn/Holiday side dish for roast chicken, turkey, pork and beef.

I had trouble finding peeled (skinned) hazelnuts so I bought some with the skins on and tried peeling them myself — a time-consuming and messy process. Do yourself a favor and find them already peeled (removed of their outer skin). If you can’t find peeled hazelnuts, pecans or pinenuts would be a good substitute.

I used 1/2 cup each of dried cranberries and golden raisins in place of 1 cup of raisins, which turned out to be a great substitition/combo. Enjoy!

Mom’s Rice Stuffing with Water Chestnuts, Apples and Hazelnuts
-recipe from Debbie Macomber’s Christmas Cookbook by Debbie Macomber

Mom served this rice dish every Thanksgiving and Christmas. The recipe was handed down by her mother, who emigrated from the Black Sea region of Ukraine as a young married woman in the late 1800s. Until now, it’s never been written down, but passed from one daughter to the next. -Debbie Macomber

Serves 12 to 16.

6 tablespoons ( 3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 1/2 cups white rice (uncooked)
5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tart apples, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and black pepper

Melt butter in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery and thyme; cook for 6 minutes, stirring often. Add rice and broth; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook for 22 minutes, without stirring, until liquid is absorbed and rice is just tender. Stir in water chestnuts, apples, hazelnuts, scallions, raisins and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

If stuffing turkey: Loosely fill cavity with dressing. Place any leftover dressing in a buttered casserole. Cover dish with buttered foil, buttered-side down. Bake dressing for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, or until heated through.

If not stuffing turkey: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 15-by-10-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Stir 1/2 cup turkey drippings into dressing; spoon into prepared dish. Cover dish with buttered foil, buttered-side down. Bake dressing for 40 minutes, or until heated through.

TIP: Save time and hassle by using prepeeled and chopped hazelnuts. Find them in the baking section of your market.

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