When Char and I got married, we each brought a favorite cookbook into the marriage. Char brought Louisiana Real & Rustic by Emeril Lagasse, and I brought Who's Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux? by Marcelle Bienvenu. But here's the thing... Marcelle co-wrote Louisiana Real & Rustic with Emeril. We love that lady. And we have cooked many dishes out of those cookbooks over the years.
We always reach for Louisiana Real & Rustic as Thanksgiving approaches. Our favorite turkey recipe comes from that book. It was a recipe that Marcelle learned from her Aunt Git. It's a pepper-stuffed turkey, and I guarantee it's the juiciest turkey you'll ever cook.
One of our favorite sides comes from the same cookbook: Wild Pecan Rice Dressing. The original recipe calls for a specific brand of rice, Konriko Brand, which comes out of New Iberia, LA. If you can get it, it's worth it. The way that rice is milled produces a nutty flavor to the end product. But if you can't find it, don't sweat it. We've made it with plain brown rice a few times and it still turns out delicious.
- 1 tablespoon butter (I've also used bacon grease)
- 1/4 cup chopped onions
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 cup pecan pieces
- 1 unpeeled Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 package (7 ounces) Konriko Wild Pecan Rice (I've also used regular brown rice)
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 pound bacon, chopped, crispy-fried, and drained
- 1 cup chopped boiled ham (I sometimes leave this out)
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, salt, and cayenne. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes, or until slightly wilted. Add the pecans and cook for about 4 minutes. Add the apple and the rice and stir for 1 minute. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat. Add the bacon, ham, green onions, and parsley and stir to mix well.
- Let sit for about 3 minutes before serving.