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posted: 9/14/2011 6:00 AM

Tilapia with Cherry Sage Red Wine Reduction, Cherry Pecan Rice and Butternut Squash Soup

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  • Ann Marie Nordby's Tilapia with Cherry Sage Red Wine Reduction, Cherry Pecan Rice and Butternut Squash Soup

       Ann Marie Nordby's Tilapia with Cherry Sage Red Wine Reduction, Cherry Pecan Rice and Butternut Squash Soup
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer



1 cup dried cherries

3 cups boiling water

1 cup chopped raw pecans

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup brown rice

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon chopped fresh sage


1 medium butternut squash

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 cup buttermilk

6 fresh sage leaves

½ cup low sodium vegetable stock

1 cup creme fraiche

¾ tablespoon maple syrup

¾ teaspoon cinnamon


4 tilapia filets

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

½ cup reserved cherry water

1 cup pinot noir

¼ cup dried cherries

¼ teaspoon gently cracked black peppercorns

3-4 fresh sage leaves

For the rice: Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Rehydrate cherries in 3 cups of boiling water until plump; drain and reserve liquid.

Toss pecans in olive oil and cinnamon. Toast 5-7 minutes, or until you can smell them.

Using a pasta pot (with streamer/strainer insert to be used later), bring 2 cups reserved cherry water to a boil. Add brown rice and salt; reduce to a low simmer until liquid is absorbed, 50-55 minutes. When finished, stir in ¾ cup rehydrated cherries, toasted pecans, and chopped sage.

For soup: Peel and chop butternut squash into 1- to 2-inch chunks; toss in olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on a cookie sheet and roast 20-30 minutes until fork tender.

Gently warm buttermilk over low heat and add sage leaves. Remove from heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Combine squash and buttermilk in blender and puree until smooth. Add vegetable stock and heat through.

In a small bowl mix creme fraiche, maple syrup and cinnamon. Serve soup in a small bowl or ramekin topped with a swirl of crème fresh mix, a few dried cherries and pecans.

For the sauce: Combine remaining cherry water, wine, salt, sage and peppercorns in a small sauce pan; bring to a boil and then simmer until reduced by about half. Strain out sage and peppercorns.

For tilapia: Season fillets with salt and pepper. During the last 10-15 minutes of the rice cooking time, place fish in steamer/strainer insert and steam over cooking rice 10-15 minutes until fish is opaque and flaky.

To serve: lay tilapia over rice and drizzle reduction sauce over top. Serve bowl of butternut squash soup on the side.

Serves four.

Ann Marie Nordby, Arlington Heights

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