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Wild Rice Casserole with Orange Butter Sauce

Servings: 6


For Compound Orange Butter:
7 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter, divided
2 shallots, chopped
Zest of one orange

For Wild Rice:
1 1/2 cups wild rice
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 bay leaves
7 cups chicken stock, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 shallots, finely minced
1 large or 2 small bulbs of fresh fennel, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, toasted and ground
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
1 cup chestnuts, freshly roasted, peeled and chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Cooking Directions:

For compound orange butter: The butter may be made in advance, formed into a log and cut into thin slices. The slices may then be placed over the top of the completed rice dish allowing it to melt into the rice casserole.

Place 1 tablespoon butter and shallots in a small sauté pan. Cook over medium heat until shallots are softened, 1-2 minutes; cool. Combine shallot mixture, zest and remaining butter; set aside.

If preparing ahead, place butter on foil and roll into a log. Chill. May be made several days ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Allow Butter to come to room temperature, 20 minutes, then cut into thin slices, place on rice casserole, allowing it to melt.

For wild rice: Place the wild rice, garlic, bay leaves and 5 cups chicken stock in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until rice is tender, 45 to 60 minutes (Taste a few grains of rice to make sure that it is soft enough). Drain rice, discard garlic and bay leaves. Return rice to saucepan, cover and set aside.

Melt butter in a large sauté pan. Sauté shallots until softened, 1-2 minutes. Add sliced fennel and continue to sauté for about 1 minute. Add fennel seed and sauté 30 seconds more. To deglaze the pan, add brandy and gently stir until the browned bits from the bottom and side of the pan are dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add remaining 2 cups of chicken stock and orange juice; reduce liquid by half. Combine reserved wild rice, chives, tarragon and chestnuts. Add salt and pepper to taste; mix well. Place into a serving dish. Dot the top of the casserole with the compound butter allowing it to melt into the rice. You may make the entire dish in 1 to 2 days in advance, refrigerate, reheat in a 350º oven for 20 minutes prior to serving.

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