Recipes Side Dishes Rice and Grains Wild Rice Pilaf with Dried Cherries, Apricots and Butternut Squash

Wild Rice Pilaf with Dried Cherries, Apricots and Butternut Squash

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 8

This pretty pilaf, festive enough for a celebratory meal like Thanksgiving dinner, gets its hearty texture from chewy, nutty-tasting wild rice. If you like, you can substitute raisins for the dried cherries and omit the apricots.


  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 small sweet onion, such as Vidalia, chopped
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 2 cups (12 oz./375 g) wild rice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 orange zest strip, about 3 inches (7.5 cm) long and 1/2 inch
      (12 mm) wide
  • 4 1/2 cups (36 fl. oz./1. 1 l) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) diced dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) dried pitted cherries
  • 1 small butternut squash, halved, seeded, peeled and cut into
      1/2-inch (12-mm) pieces
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz.) chopped toasted pecans


Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C).

In a large, wide saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and stir to combine. Stir in the wild rice, cinnamon stick and orange zest and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

Add the broth, apricots and cherries to the saucepan and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil, stirring once. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the broth is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 55 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, in a large bowl, toss the squash with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the squash in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast until golden brown outside and thoroughly tender inside, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover to keep warm.

To assemble the pilaf, transfer the rice mixture to a serving bowl. Remove cinnamon stick and orange zest and discard. Fold in the roasted squash and pecans, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

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