Wild Rice and Turkey Casserole

For 10 weeks, I’ll make one recipe from each chapter in our Comfort Food Cookbook. We’re dubbing it “10 Weeks of Comfort Cooking.” Follow along for easy weeknight recipes, dishes worthy to share at the Thanksgiving table or as gifts for the holidays, and more. Want to win a copy of the Comfort Food Cookbook? Just make one of the recipes we share and post a photo of it in the comments section of this blog. (We’d love to know what you thought of it, too.) We’ll choose random winners throughout the 10 weeks. If you can’t wait to get your very own copy of the Comfort Food Cookbook, I don’t blame you. Simply see our shopping section.

Wild Rice and Turkey Casserole
When it’s time to clean up Thanksgiving dinner, I panic. Even after we divvy up leftovers, it always seems like there’s still so much turkey staring back at me. (And honestly, I’m tired of turkey by then.) What I really need is a go-to recipe that is easy – ‘cause who wants to slave away in the kitchen right after Thanksgiving? – tasty, and uses up a good chunk of my leftover turkey. Because I just can’t do another turkey sandwich.

I cracked open the Comfort Food Cookbook and found several recipes that would do the trick, from White Turkey Chili to Turkey Tetrazzini. I settled on the Wild Rice and Turkey Casserole – and it’s a keeper.

This recipe calls for 3 cups diced turkey – which put a healthy dent in my turkey stash. (Hallelujah!) Plus, who can resist the tryptophan trifecta of butter, heavy cream and turkey? I wondered whether the 1  1/2 cups heavy cream would drown out the other flavors, but that wasn’t the case. The onion and mushroom flavors came through nicely, the sliced almonds added a subtle crunch without being overwhelming, and the rich, creamy texture was comfort food to the core.

While I followed the recipe, one of the beauties of casseroles is their flexibility. If you don’t have turkey on hand, chicken should make a fine substitute. Dark meat is A-OK, too. Have leftover celery from your stuffing recipe? Throw some in the sauté pan with the onions and mushrooms. I used basic button mushrooms, but a mix of mushrooms – shiitakes, creminis, etc. – might make this casserole sing in a whole new way. You could even throw in more than the one cup that’s called for. The one thing I wouldn’t veer from is using wild rice versus white or brown. The flavor and texture of wild rice adds so much to this recipe.

This casserole takes about an hour-and-a-half to cook, so you’ll even have time to succumb to a Turkey Day snooze or catch part of the football game. You deserve a break, after all!


Wild Rice and Turkey Casserole
Yields 8 servings.

1 cup wild rice
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup diced fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups cooked turkey, diced
1/4 cup sliced almonds
3 cups turkey or chicken broth
1  1/2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish and set aside.

Rinse rice thoroughly in a colander and transfer to a 2-quart saucepan. Cover with boiling water and let stand for an hour. Drain.

In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon butter and sauté mushrooms and onions until softened, about 10 minutes.

In the prepared casserole dish, combine rice, sautéed vegetables, salt, pepper, turkey and almonds. Add broth and cream. Mix lightly.

Cover and bake for 1  1/2 hours. Remove cover; sprinkle with cheese and dot with remaining butter. Increase oven temperature to 450 F and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Next week I’ll share the recipe for a Thanksgiving-worthy side dish that brightens your table without weighing you down with heavy carbs.

  • Published on Nov 14, 2014
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