We have had a busy couple of weeks, in the most wonderful way. We went on an epic vacation to Disney World with our extended family. There were twelve of us in all– six adults and six children– and it was fantastic, I’m more than a little sad that this long-planned trip has now come and gone. Luckily, the transition back to our normal lives here in Minnesota was pretty easy. We’re having a beautiful fall, with stunning colors and perfect temperatures. October is my favorite month anyway, and this one is living up to every expectation I’ve ever had. Both of my sweet little ones celebrate birthdays this month– which makes me love it even more.
As for that getting back into the swing of things, we went to a neighborhood potluck last night where our friends smoked an impressive 36 pounds of pork. It was ridiculously delicious! I made this autumnal dish for the get-together and received some nice comments, so I figured I’d share it with you as well. It’s a cross between a side dish or a salad, or maybe even a main course. Let’s just call it food, shall we? It has a wonderful feel of fall to it and contains some of my favorite things. I fancy rice and squash as a combination, and a few of you may remember this dish from last year? This time I went with the nutty, toothsome, wild rice. I’ve been tossing it into soups and salads whenever I can. I also stocked up on Winter squash at the farmers market yesterday, so I figured I’d add some in as well.
Then I decided to make this delicious citrus curry dressing to pour on top of everything. I’d been dreaming about this dressing after having recently gone out to lunch with a couple girlfriends. This dressing was on all of our salads and it was insanely delicious. (No worries, ladies– I think I’ve got it down. Or something very close and fantastically delicious in it’s own right.) The dressing’s base is orange juice that has been reduced to amp up its flavor. The curry addition makes it unique and almost addictive. Bite after bite, you’ll keep wanting more. I also decided to add some kale into the mix, since I had a bit left from my final CSA box. I massaged it first with a tiny drizzle of olive oil and salt for about 3-5 minutes. Massaging kale helps it soften a bit, and in this dish, it is worth the little extra effort.
I came across some wonderful honey goat cheese at our co-op and knew it would work perfectly in this dish. Wow! There is a smidge of honey in the dressing, so it tied in beautifully. Of course regular goat cheese would work fine, too. I topped the dish with coursely-chopped roasted and salted hazelnuts, but walnuts or even almonds would serve the purpose, too. Anything that provides a little crunch for texture. The dish can be served warm, but I prefer it at room temperature. Which makes it a perfect make-ahead dish for the holidays. Hope you are all doing well– enjoy!
The Recipe: Wild Rice, Roasted Butternut Squash, and Kale with Citrus Curry Dressing
1 cup uncooked wild rice
1 medium-large butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 1/2- 2 cups coarsely chopped kale (any variety will work)
roasted and salted hazelnuts, for garnish (about 1/2-3/4 cup)
crumbled honey goat cheese (or regular), for garnish (about 1/2 cup)
kosher salt and cracked pepper
For the Citrus Curry Dressing:
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, from 2 oranges (Valencia worked great)
1 tablespoon finely minced shallot or red onion
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sweet curry powder
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and cracked pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the diced butternut squash on a large rimmed baking sheet and coat with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for about 20-25 minutes, or until tender. Turn the squash once while roasting. The amount of roasting time will depend on how big or small the squash pieces were cubed, so keep a watchful eye. Remove from oven when tender and let cool a bit. Squash that is really hot is fragile and will fall apart more easily.
Meanwhile, rinse the wild rice in water and place into a large saucepan with 4 cups of cold water a little salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. The rice should be tender after about 45 minutes. Then drain the remaining water and fluff with a fork. Let cool for a bit. This method uses a bit more water than usual, but helps in that you don’t have to keep such a watchful eye so it doesn’t burn.
To make the dressing, begin by placing the orange juice into a small saucepan and reduce (uncovered) over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, or until 1/3 cup orange juice remains. Stir often. Let cool. Then you may begin making the dressing by using one of two methods. The first method uses an immersion blender (which I couldn’t live without). Place all of the dressing ingredients into a tall cylinder shaped container (my blender came with one) and pulse a few times with an immersion blender until the dressing is uniform and well blended. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can simply use the bowl and whisk method to make the dressing (or even shake in a lidded jar). Add all of the ingredients to the bowl, except the olive oil. Mix together, and then slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season with kosher salt and cracked pepper. You may be surprised that you’ll have to add a bit of salt to bring out the flavor of the dressing.
Add the coarsely chopped kale to a medium-sized bowl and drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil and salt. Massage kale for a few minutes until it is tender and has wilted a bit.
When all of the ingredients are ready, add them to a huge serving platter or bowl. Pour half of the dressing over everything and gently mix. Taste. Add more dressing if you like. Season with salt and pepper. Then top with crumbled goat cheese and chopped roasted hazelnuts. I prefer this dish at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers. Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!