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Wild Rice with Herbs and Applewood-Smoked Bacon
The apple-smoked bacon adds a lovely sweet-smoky character to this fantastic side. The star of the dish, however, is still the crunchy, nutty wild rice.

Ingredients:
6 slices of applewood-smoked bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
1 cup finely diced red onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups wild rice, rinsed well under cold water and drained
2 1/2 cups water
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 small bay leaf
1/2teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

Directions:
1. Cook bacon in a large saucepan with a lid, uncovered, over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp; remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Stir in the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, over moderate heat until golden, about 5 minutes.
2. Add wild rice, water, broth, bay leaf, and salt. Cover and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Uncover and boil gently without stirring, 45 to 60 minutes, depending on desired degree of doneness. Drain, add herbs, season well with freshly ground black pepper, and set over lowest possible heat. Dry out for 5 minutes, shaking the pan. Stir in the bacon and pine nuts, and discard the bay leaf. Serve hot.

Use any bacon you like for this great wild-rice side dish. But the applewood-smoked one we're recommending, available at Dean & DeLuca, lends the dish a lovely sweet-smoky character. The star of the dish, however, is still the crunchy, nutty wild rice. If you want to emphasize the crunch, cook the rice only 45 minutes or so. If you cook it for an hour, the rice will be softer. This dish is lovely with roast poultry, especially when some kind of fruit appears on the plate. Serves 8 as a side dish