What you'll need:
1. First, cook the rice in a large pot of salted boiling water until it's tender, 35-40 minutes. Once it's done, drain it and put it in a large bowl.
You don't have to worry about fluffing it or anything.
2. While the rice is cooking, you can slice the onions...
3. ...and the delicata squash.
To easily remove the seeds, slice it in half and use a small spoon to scoop out the seeds. If you don't have delicata squash, you can use butternut, acorn, or kabocha squash, but you'll have to peel those.
Slice the squash into rings, peel and all.
4. Chop the mushrooms: Feel free to use any mushrooms you like. I used button, shiitakes, and maitakes.
No matter which ones you use, just make sure they are all about the same size. For button mushrooms, quarter them. For shiitakes, remove the stem and slice the cap. For maitakes (my FAVE), just tear them into bite sized pieces.
5. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the onions.
Season with salt and pepper. Cook until they're just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
6. Add the mushrooms and thyme to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until they've released almost all their moisture and are a nice dark brown, 10-15 minutes.
Mushrooms are *mostly* water, so, this kinda takes a while. But during this time the water is evaporating and their flavor is concentrating and they are developing lots of and lots of ~umami~ which is the holy grail of flavors.
7. Transfer all this amazingness to a separate bowl and set aside. Keep the skillet, no need to wipe it out.
8. Add more olive oil to the skillet and add the squash.
Season with salt and pepper and cook until they're tender and cooked through, 5-8 minutes. A little color on them is nice, but they don't need to be super browned.
9. Add the mushroom mixture, squash and stock to the bowl with the rice.
10. Add the dried cherries and mix everything together.
Give it a final seasoning of salt and pepper while you're at it.
11. Now, because this is stuffing and NOT rice salad, transfer everything to a baking dish or dutch oven with a lid. Cover it and bake for 30 minutes.
If you don't feel like baking it, that's fine too, because it will still be delicious. But if someone calls it a rice salad, I can't be held responsible.
12. Throw some more thyme sprigs on top before serving, because they look ~so nice~.
Wild Rice Stuffing with Mushrooms, Squash, and Dried Cherries (gf/v/df)
Recipe by Alison Roman
I like delicata squash because you can eat the skin, but peeled and cubed butternut, acorn or kabocha squash would all work too.
2 cups wild rice
Kosher salt and pepper
1 cup vegetable broth
8 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1½ lbs. mixed mushrooms, sliced
½ bunch thyme sprigs, plus more for serving
1 lb. delicata squash, seeded and sliced ½ inch thick
1½ cups dried cherries or cranberries
Cook the rice in a pot of salted boiling water until it's tender, 30-40 minutes. Drain the rice and transfer it to a large bowl.
Heat 6 Tbsp. of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the onion. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the onion starts to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the mushrooms and the thyme. Cook, tossing occasionally to prevent the mushrooms from sticking, until they are reallllllly browned. (This is what is going to give your stuffing all the flavor, so take your time! Let it happen!). It should take 10-15 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the bowl with rice. Pick out the thyme sprigs, because who wants to eat those?
Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. of olive oil in same skillet over medium-high heat and add the squash. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the squash is tender and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the squash to the bowl with the rice and stock. Stir in the cherries. Toss everything together and season it with salt and pepper.
You could definitely eat this now, but it will be more of a rice salad than a stuffing. To make it more of a stuffing, transfer it to a baking dish, cover it and bake at 425° until everything gets warmed through together, about 30 minutes.