Brown Rice with Apples, Dates & Raisins

Cookbook author Christy Rost stops by Good Day to promote her new book, "Celebrating Home: A Handbook for Gracious Living." She makes an essential side for every Thanksgiving dinner.

Brown Rice with Apples, Dates & Raisins

1 ½ cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 cup brown rice
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 apple, rinsed, cored and chopped
1 large shallot, peeled and minced
1 stalk celery, rinsed and diced
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or other favorite nut (optional)
¼ cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons chopped dates
2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped

In a medium saucepan, stir together the chicken broth, water, rice and salt, and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.  Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook 35 to 40 minutes, or until the rice is tender and all the liquid has evaporated.  Set the rice aside to keep warm.

Preheat a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.  Add apple, shallot, celery, raisins, nuts, cranberries, and dates, and sauté 5 minutes until all are tender.

Stir the cooked rice in to the sautéed mixture, add the sage, and spoon the rice medley into a large serving bowl.

Goat Cheese and Hazelnut Delight

1  pound fresh goat cheese, about 2 cups
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons finely chopped hazelnuts
2 tablespoons sherry
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup chopped dried apricots, for garnish
¼ cup dried cranberries or dried cherries, for garnish
Raisin bread toast points, mini-toasts, or crackers

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the goat cheese and butter just until they are smooth.  Add the hazelnuts, sherry, and salt and mix until the ingredients are blended.

Line a quiche or tart pan with plastic wrap, allowing the edges to overhang the pan.  Fill the bottom of the pan with chopped apricots and cranberries.  Drop dollops of the cheese mixture on top of the dried fruits and gently spread the cheese to the edges of the pan with a knife or offset spatula.

Fold the overhanging plastic wrap over the cheese mixture, cover tightly, and chill several hours or overnight until the cheese is firm.  To unmold, remove the top layer of plastic wrap, place a large platter upside down on top of the pan, and invert.  Remove the pan, using the plastic wrap lining to loosen the cheese from the pan.  Gently peel the plastic wrap from the cheese spread.  The dried fruit layer will now be on top.

Garnish the platter with whole dried apricots and serve with toast points, mini-toasts or crackers.

Chef’s Tip:  When a recipe calls for chopped dried apricots, use kitchen shears to snip them into small pieces.  It’s so much easier than chopping!  This recipe freezes well.

Autumn Roasted Root Vegetables

3 cups white creamer potatoes, quartered
2 cups small red new potatoes, quartered
2 cups peeled butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 ½ cups peeled red garnet sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups peeled red boiler onions, whole
1 cup peeled white boiler onions, whole
1 bunch baby carrots, rinsed, peeled, with 2-inch stems intact
10 peeled cloves garlic, whole
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
5 sprigs fresh thyme, tied with kitchen twine, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Combine potatoes, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, onions, carrots, and garlic in a 9x13-inch roasting pan.  Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and thyme leaves.  Garnish with a several sprigs of thyme secured with string to form a “bouquet garni.”

Roast the vegetables, uncovered, 45 to 50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are tender and the potatoes and squash are golden brown.  Remove the vegetables from the oven, transfer them to a platter, and serve immediately.


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