02/16/2012 01:38 EST | Updated 04/17/2012 05:12 EDT

Date, apricot, ham and wild rice casserole an elegant entree for winter dining

Wild rice, dried apricots, diced ham and dates put pizzazz into this one-dish toothsome casserole.

Wild Rice Casserole

Wild rice mix, enough to yield 1 l (4 cups) when cooked

45 ml (3 tbsp) butter

1 onion, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

5 ml (1 tsp) dried rosemary

15 ml (1 tbsp) dried thyme

250 ml (1 cup) dates, pitted and chopped

1 cooking apple, peeled, cored and chopped

125 ml (1/2 cup) diced dried apricots

150 ml (2/3 cup) diced cooked ham

3 ml (3/4 tsp) salt

2 ml (1/2 tsp) fresh ground black pepper

Cook wild rice according to package directions.

Heat oven to 180 C (350 F).

In a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, melt butter; saute onion and celery for 4 to 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in rosemary and thyme and remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine cooked rice with onion-celery-herb mixture and add dates, apple, apricots and ham. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon into a buttered 2-l (8-cup) baking dish. Cover and bake for 30 minutes or until hot.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional information per serving: 275 calories; 10 g protein; 45 g carbohydrate; 7.5 g fat; 5 g fibre.

Source: Bard Valley Medjool Date Growers Association.