Happily Ever After Wild Rice Bake

My dear friends Kim and Steve married yesterday in an intimate and beautiful ceremony.  Several of us contributed to the buffet, and I created this dish with the bride's food likes and dislikes in mind.  You can make it ahead if needed and reheat then serve directly from a Crockpot or casserole.

Happily Ever After Wild Rice Bake
8 ounces wild rice, uncooked
4 1/2 cups water

6 strips thick-cut bacon
3 celery stalked, chopped fine
1 large red pepper, chopped fine
1/2 large white onion, chopped fine

1/3 pound each ground beef, veal, and pork
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Zest of 3 tangerines

Chicken stock
White wine
1/2 - 1 cup Craisins
Juice of 3 tangerines

Splash of vinegar or lime juice
Several sprigs thyme
Salt to taste

Directions: Bring water to boil over medium high heat and add wild rice; Simmer covered 55 minutes, then remove from heat and keep covered additional 5 minutes.

Cook bacon until crisp; remove and drain on paper towel.  Add chopped vegetables in batched and cook in bacon drippings about 3-5 minutes or until tender.  Generously pepper each batch.  Add each cooked batch and cooked rice to large pot, along with thyme.

Combine beef/veal/pork with cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and tangerine zest.  Cook in bacon pan with bit of butter.  Add cooked meat to rice/vegetable mixture.  Add bit of lime juice or vinegar.

Deglaze bacon/vegetable/beef pan with a cup or two chicken broth and white wine; add tangerine juice and Craisins and reduce by half.   Add to rice/vegetable/meat mixture.  Season with more pepper and a bit of salt.  Heat to taste and serve.

The groom left this note for his bride.  Happily ever after begins today.


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