Thanksgiving Prep – Because We Don’t All Eat Turkey

And by we, I mean Wooden Nickels.

Should you choose to place a vegetarian dish on your Thursday table, let me offer this for your consideration.  It features a slew of fall flavors, from kale, to wild rice, to caramelized onions, all of which combine in such a way that you won’t mind going sans meat for at least a few bites.

I tried this for two reasons: because I heard tell that kale was packed with nutrition (and deep down, I knew that smothering it with 2 cups of Swiss cheese would help it go down easier), and because I’m vying to be the first person to conquer The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.

If every recipe is as good as these first two, it’s going to be a glorious couple of weeks before I hang up my apron, and give my beaters a final lick.

To make Wild Rice Gratin with Kale, Caramelized Onions, and Baby Swiss for your holiday table, you will need:

  • 5 C cooked wild rice (from 1 2/3 C uncooked)
  • 3 T butter, divided
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 large sweet onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 4 C stemmed, ribboned kale leaves
  • 2 C (8 oz) grated Swiss cheese
  • 3/4 C vegetable broth (if you’re not vegetarian and keep chicken broth around, that’s fine, too)
  • 1 C fine, dry breadcrumbs (though Panko sure did taste good)

Cook the rice according to the package directions, up to a day in advance.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Meanwhile, caramelize the onions.  Heat 1 T butter and 1 T olive oil in large skillet, over medium-low heat.  When hot, add onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook until tender and sweet, and the most luxurious looking brown you could imagine, about 30 minutes.  You can taste one to see if it’s as rich as you like.  If not, keep cooking.  Add kale ribbons, cook 5 minutes, until they wilt a bit.  Stir together onion-kale mixture, wild rice, and 1 C grated cheese in a large bowl.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed.

Use 1 T butter to grease 2 quart baking dish.  Spread rice mixture into prepared gratin and pour broth over it.  Sprinkle remaining cheese over gratin.  Toss breadcrumbs with remaining T melted butter, salt and pepper, and sprinkle over cheese.

Bake 30-35 minutes, or until a little bubbly and beginning to brown on top.  Try and wait at least 5 cooling minutes to dig in.  Just try.

There are millions, MILLIONS, I tell you, waiting for someone who figures out a way for food bloggers to take appealing pictures of casseroles.  Millions.

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