I think this Classic recipe for Uncle Bens Wild Rice Turkey Casserole is the best ever. I still remember the first time I ever had it, at my friends’ house, Dave & Rosanne’s. I was wowed by it and asked for the recipe right away. That of course, was years ago (maybe decades, now) and I still think it’s a great way to use your turkey (or chicken) leftovers.
And that’s how recipes used to be passed around, before the internet, from person to person, family to family. So you know only the good ones survived! And this is an oldie but a goodie as my Mom used to say. Just thinking about it makes me feel nostalgic. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it’s super easy to make and can be whipped up in no time, and it doesn’t hurt, either that there’s just a touch of wine.
About Uncle Bens Wild Rice Turkey Casserole:
If ever there was a more perfect after Thanksgiving Casserole, I don’t know what it is. Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice Turkey Casserole is just pure after holiday comfort food. The classicly flavored rice base is so creamy and couldn’t be more perfect with the turkey. There’s a hint of curry, not much, just enough to give a “what’s in this?” taste. And then there are water chestnuts of all things, that add a little crunch and a bit of relief from all that creaminess, and just a few pecans or slivered almonds over the top. Fancy! Of course, that touch of wine is what really elevates this.
Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice Turkey Casserole is one of those super easy recipes you’d never guess is made with a little mushroom soup and a box of Uncle Ben’s. I sure didn’t guess it when I first tasted it. If you visit my site often, you’ll probably know I’m all into scratch cooking, but by the time the days after a holiday roll around, I’m busy, I’m tired and I’m ready to take just about any shortcut I can and I bet you are, too!I’m looking to plop something down on the counter and call “dinner!” Or ready to have this casserole in the fridge for anyone to pop in the oven while I’m doing what I’m doing. Black Friday, maybe?
This particular version of this casserole is simply the best. All the others? They’re just pretenders. Don’t discount the water chestnuts and the nuts – both give a nice little crunch to what could potentially be an otherwise pretty one-dimensional dish and are both healthier ingredients that bring a lot of trace minerals and healthy Omega 3’s (the nuts) to the tables. But even though this is a classic, sometimes I’ve been known to leave out the water chestnuts and add a few dried cranberries to this instead.
Making Uncle Bens Wild Rice Turkey Casserole:
Uncle Ben’s has so many different types of rice products these days, this is the one you’re looking for, Uncle Ben’s Long Grain & Wild Rice Blend. There’s just a touch of prep work in making Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice Turkey Casserole. You’ve got to cook up the box of Uncle Ben’s, then saute the onion and celery (maybe you can raid the relish tray for that celery?) Then it’s just a matter of mixing everything together.
Bake it for 20 to 25 minutes until it’s all hot and bubbly (top with the nuts halfway through the baking) or refrigerate it and bake just a few minutes longer. It’s always kind of nice to knock dinner out ahead of time.
If you’re really opposed to the canned soup or can’t have it, make my recipe for Cream of Anything Soup. Just toss some mushrooms (1/2 cup diced will do it) in with your onion and celery, along with two extra tablespoons of butter. Then build a roux right on top of it. Stir in two tablespoons of flour, cook it for a minute or two, then add 1 1/2 cups of milk and stir till thickened and bubbly. Proceed with the recipe. I explain more about that on that post. Or if you don’t like mushrooms, just use the celery and onion as a base.
Saving Money on Uncle Bens Wild Rice Turkey Casserole:
I don’t know if I can be a budget-minded blog without a version of Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice Turkey Casserole. It’s a great use for any leftover Thanksgiving turkey and is just as good with leftover chicken. As a matter of fact, it’s a great “planned” leftover; if you’re serving chicken earlier in the week, just make a little extra for this casserole.
Pretty much all the ingredients in this casserole are going to be at a low throughout the holiday sales that range from pre-Thanksgiving right up to the New Year. Knowing what is likely to be on sale can help you leverage those sales to your advantage and stock up on needed items. Check out my post on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holiday Sales and stock up at a low on what you’ll use in the next few months.
Save a smidge of wine from Thanksgiving to use in this casserole, if you serve it. And if you don’t, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find wine more competitively priced than during the holiday sales. Get to know your shop, and get to know who’s the great wine guy, there. They aren’t there just to lead you to the most expensive wines, at least at a good shop. They’re well trained and knowledgeable staff that can lead you to the hidden gems and wines that are going to bring you more bang for the buck.Print
Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice Turkey Casserole
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings 1x
- Category: Casseroles
- Cuisine: American
- 8 ounces Uncle Ben’s fast-cooking long grain & wild rice
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup or use recipe for “cream of anything soup.“
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1 can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 2 cups cooked turkey or chicken, cubed or shredded
- Slivered or chopped almonds or pecans, optional
Prepare wild rice mix according to package directions. This casserole is best if the rice is not overdone as it will cook a bit more as the casserole bakes. Watch it carefully and pull it as soon as it’s done.
Meanwhile, saute onions and celery (in a large pan) in the butter until they are softened. Add the soup, sour cream, wine, water chestnuts and curry and warm through. Add in the poultry and the prepared wild rice and gently stir.
Place in casserole and bake at 350 degrees for 25 – 35 minutes, stirring once, if desired, about halfway through. After stirring, top with chopped or slivered almonds or chopped pecans if using.
Per Serving: 343 Calories; 15g Fat (39.7% calories from fat); 18g Protein; 32g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 62mg Cholesterol; 689mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 1 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 2 1/2 Fat.
Keywords: Almonds, Bargain Meal of the Week, Canned Soup, Casserole, Chicken, leftover Chicken, nuts, Pecans, Rice, Turkey, Turkey Leftovers, water chestnuts, Wild Rice, Wine
If you came to this recipe looking for a way to use leftover turkey or chicken, be sure to check out the link below for 12 Days of Turkey. You might want to see the sister post for 12 Days of Ham, too.