2017-11-22 / Entertainment

Deliver Holiday Flavor with Pecans


The holiday season is ripe with opportunities to gather around the table with loved ones and enjoy a delicious meal.

Elevate your holiday menu with freshly harvested ingredients like naturally sweet pecans. As America’s only native tree nut, the pecan boasts a proud heritage shared by the farmers who have grown it for generations – but this tree nut is more than a pie ingredient.

While the American Pecan Council’s Classic Pecan Pie is an ideal grand finale, consider including nutrient-dense pecans throughout the holiday season as a snack or in innovative pecan-filled dishes like Roasted Acorn Squash with Pecan Vinaigrette and Pecan Wild Rice Pilaf.

In addition to being a versatile addition to your holiday feast, in each 1-ounce serving of pecans, you’ll get 12 grams of “good” monounsaturated fat with zero cholesterol or sodium, according to the USDA. Compared to other nuts, pecans are among the lowest in carbs (4 grams) and highest in dietary fiber (3 grams) per serving.

For more seasonal recipes, nutritional information and cooking tips, visit AmericanPecan.com.

Classic Pecan Pie

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 70 minutes
Servings: 10
1 pie dough (9 inches)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter,
melted and cooled
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups raw pecan halves
Place baking sheet in oven. Heat oven
to 350 F.
Line pie pan with rolled out pie dough.
Press into edges and up sides. Use fingers
or fork to create decorative edge. Set aside.
In large bowl, whisk together butter, corn
syrup, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Add
eggs and salt, and whisk until mixture is
even. Fold in pecan halves.
Pour mixture into pie crust and spread
evenly with spatula. Use pieces of aluminum
foil to cover edges of pie crust. Place pie
on prepared baking sheet and bake 60-70
minutes, or until pie is set in center.
Remove pie from oven and allow to cool
completely before serving or chilling.
Note: Pie can be made 1 day ahead and
refrigerated overnight. Allow pie to come to
room temperature before serving.

Pecan Wild Rice Pilaf

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Servings: 12
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups water
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional,
to taste
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 cinnamon stick
3/4 cup wild rice, rinsed
1 cup black rice, rinsed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or pecan oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
2 cups butternut squash, diced
1 medium tart apple, peeled and diced
black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup chopped pecans or pecan pieces
1/3 cup dried currants
In medium saucepan, bring stock, water, nutmeg,
ginger, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, cloves and cinnamon
stick to boil. Add rice and bring back to simmer.
Reduce heat to low and half cover with lid. Allow rice
to simmer about 45 minutes, or until tender and liquid
is absorbed. Remove and discard cinnamon stick.
While rice is cooking, in large skillet, heat olive
or pecan oil and butter. Add onion and cook, stirring
frequently, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add in
butternut squash and cook, stirring often, until squash
is tender and beginning to caramelize at edges, about
8-10 minutes. Add in apples and cook additional
3-4 minutes, or until apples soften. Season with salt
and pepper, to taste, along with thyme and ground
cinnamon. Stir in chopped pecans and currants, and
cook until pecans are slightly golden and fragrant.
Remove mixture from heat.
Stir butternut squash mixture with cooked rice and
season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at
room temperature.

Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Pecan Vinaigrette

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4
1 small acorn squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup raw pecan pieces
1/4 cup olive or pecan oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

3-4 handfuls baby spinach
1 1/2 cups cooked farro
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1 ounce crumbled goat cheese

Heat oven to 425 F.
To create base, slice small part of one side
of squash. Trim ends from squash, cut in half
lengthwise and scoop out sides. Place cutside down and cut squash into 1/4-inch thick
slices. Place on sheet tray and toss with olive
or pecan oil and salt. Roast until squash and
peels are tender, 30-40 minutes.
While squash is roasting, heat small skillet
over medium heat. Add pecans and toast,
shaking pan, until nuts are fragrant. Transfer
1/3 cup of pecans to bowl and reserve
remaining pecans for topping. Add oil,
vinegar, maple syrup and salt while nuts are
still warm. Stir vigorously and set aside.
In large bowl, combine spinach, farro,
shallot, half the squash and half the dressing.
Toss to combine then lay remaining squash
on top of salad. Drizzle with remaining
dressing and sprinkle with goat cheese and
remaining toasted pecans before serving.
Note: Acorn squash skin is edible but
needs roasting long enough to make it
tender. If unsure, use delicata squash or
skinless butternut squash.

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