Wild, Wild Rice Casserole

Vegetarian & gluten free this casserole can take the place of stuffing on the Thanksgiving table or work as a tasty meat-alternative.

Serves 6-8 as a side dish or 4-6 as a main course 

1 1/2 cups wild rice
5 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick (4 oz.) butter
1/2 lb. fresh wild mushrooms, sliced (if none are available, substitute Crimini)
1 leek, just the white & light green parts, sliced & washed
2 stalks celery, chopped with leaves
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
4 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
Optional addition: 10 oz. bag of frozen spinach, thawed & squeezed dry. 

Cook wild rice in water with 1/2 tsp. salt in a heavy pan with a lid. It will take at least 30 minutes & some of the grains will start to pop. The rice will be firm but not hard when done. You may need to add additional water but drain off any extra at the end. Set aside to cool slightly when done.

Using a large heavy pan, sauté leeks in butter until for 2-3 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms & cook covered for a couple minutes then uncover & let them just start to brown. Add celery, salt, pepper & thyme. Sauté for 3 minutes then add sherry & cook till liquid evaporates. Remove from heat & cool slightly.

Beat eggs & cream in a large bowl. Add wild rice & mushroom mixture (& optional drained spinach) & stir to combine.

Butter a casserole dish (9 x 11 will work well). Place mixture in dish, and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until the center starts to puff slightly.

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