I think this Classic recipe for Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice Turkey Casserole is the best ever. I still remember the first time I ever had it, at my friends’ house, Dave & Rosanne. I was wowed by it and begged the recipe right away.
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 Ben’s 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. Creamy, crunchy and simply delish, the wine is what really elevates this! And the curry! And while you probably know deep down, I’m all into scratch cooking, 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. I’m looking to plop something down on the counter and call “dinner!” Or ready to have this casserole in the oven for anyone to warm up while I’m doing what I’m doing. Black Friday, maybe?
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’re really opposed to the canned soup, make my recipe for Cream of Anything Soup. Just toss some mushrooms in with your onion and celery and then build a roux right on top of it. Or if you don’t like mushrooms, just use the celery and onion as a base.
This particular version I think 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 dried cranberries and then top the casserole with Pecans. I omit the curry, in this case.
Making Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice Turkey Casserole:
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 Wild Rice Mix, 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.
Saving Money on Uncle Ben’s 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 the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holiday sales and stock up at a low on many items. Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice Casserole was made November 2011 and priced at about $2.50 – repriced March 2014 for $3.75. Remember, this pricing is variable and a great couponer can often pick up many of these ingredients at no cost.
Save a smidge of wine from Thanksgiving to use in this casserole. If you have any! 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.
Uncle Ben's Wild Rice Casserole
- 8 ounces Uncle Ben’s fast-cooking long grain & wild rice (package)
- 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
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 2 cups cooked turkey or chicken, cubed or shredded
- Slivered or chopped almonds, 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, and curry and warm through. Add in the poultry and the prepared wild rice, gently stir.
Place in casserole and bake at 350 degrees for 25 – 35 minutes, stirring once, if desired. If desired, after the stirring, top with chopped or slivered almonds.
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.
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.