Wild Rice and Creamy Goat Cheese Stuffing
*Note: if you don't prefer the taste of goat cheese, simply substitute cream cheese, a milder tasting creamy cheese, or leave it out altogether.
*Serves 10-12 as a side dish and the recipe can be easily halved
2 cups wild rice (I used a blend of wild and brown rice)
8 ounces turkey bacon, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup diced yellow onion
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 (day-old) loaf country-style or artisan bread, cubed, about 6 cups of bread cubes
12 ounces goat cheese or cream cheese
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups chicken broth or stock
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Cook wild rice according to package directions, making sure the rice cooks completely and is very tender and soft. Transfer the rice to a large bowl when it has finished cooking and has cooled for about 10 minutes.
Heat the butter in a large 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon, onions, carrots and celery and cook until soft, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the onion mixture, bread cubes, goat cheese, parsley, salt, pepper and chicken broth to the large bowl with the rice. Mix to combine. I like my stuffing a bit on the non-soggy side so add more chicken broth 1/4 cup at a time if you'd like your mixture more wet.
Transfer the mixture to a large (9X13-inch or even larger) lightly greased baking dish and bake, uncovered, until heated through and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving.