Cranberries Shine in Native American Wild Rice Salad
This cranberry wild rice salad predates Thanksgiving by, oh, maybe millenia, and could easily replace "traditional" stuffing.
The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian has a reputation for the best museum cafeteria in Washington, D.C. It features native American recipes from around North America. After several trips to the cafeteria, this recipe from the Great Lakes region remains my hands-down favorite.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pine nuts and pumpkin seeds in a small baking pan, and toast them in the oven for about 10 minutes, until they are golden brown. Let cool.
Combine the chicken stock and wild rice in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, for about 45–55 minutes, until the grains are just opened up and tender.
Spread the hot rice on a baking sheet and let cool.
When rice is cool, scrape it into a large bowl and add carrots, dried cranberries, diced tomato, toasted pine nut pumpkin seed mixture, and scallions.
Toss all ingredients together with the vinaigrette, refrigerate for at least one hour, and serve over watercress.
Place cider vinegar in a bowl and slowly mix in oil. Sweeten with just a touch of honey and whisk.
Pour vinaigrette on top of salad and chill. Serve chilled or room temperature.
Variation: slice three chicken breasts thinly and marinate overnight in a second batch of the vinaigrette. Heat a skillet with olive oil over medium heat until oil shimmers. Drain and pat dry the chicken. Add chicken and saute until golden brown on the outside and cooked thoroughly. Add to the remaining ingredients per the recipe above.