I first tasted this unique salad years ago, at a stellar brunch buffet at the Woodstock Inn in Vermont. I was so impressed with its meaty, nutty, complex, and intriguingly delicious textures and flavors, that I went home to recreate it the next day. I’ve been making it regularly for years now, and it has become one of our most requested recipes. Bonus: it’s full of good-for-you nutrients from whole grain, nuts and dried fruits. Because one taste of it always takes me back to the Woodstock Inn (a Rockefeller property!), I feel ritzy whenever I serve it.
Wild Rice Salad with Chicken Apple Sausage
- 2 (4-ounce) links chicken apple sausage (we prefer North Country Smokehouse’s)
- 1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 1/2 cup uncooked medium grain white rice
- 2 medium stalks celery, finely chopped
- scant 1/4 cup of chopped dried apricots
- 1/4 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped.
- Bring 2-1/4 cups water to a boil, and add the wild rice and cinnamon stick. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Add the white rice, stir, cover and cook for 15 minutes more. Drain excess water (if any) and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, cut the sausages in half length-wise, then slice into 1/2″-thick half-moons. Sauté over medium heat until cooked through.
- Make a dressing by combining:
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar;
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard;
- 1/4 cup chicken broth;
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil;
- 1-2 tablespoons honey;
- and salt and pepper to taste.
- Whisk or shake well.
- In a large bowl, combine the cooled rice, the sausage, celery, apricots and pecans. Toss with dressing.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate.
Do you serve a memorable main-course salad? Where were you (or who were you with) the first time you tasted it?