Friday, July 12, 2013

White and Wild Rice Bake

There's something very comforting for me about a bowl of rice.  My favorite is jasmine, a big portion, piled high, with a bit of butter stirred in and I don't even need any meat to go with it.  Pure comfort.  But also a little boring.  Comfortably boring but, boring nevertheless.  Wild rice, on the other hand, doesn't scream comfort to me but I do like the nutty flavor and texture in salads.  So I decided to combine the two in a light sauce and a crunchy topping for a comforting and interesting side dish.

I like using the wild rice at half the amount of the white since its flavor can overwhelm the dish.  It also has a much longer cooking time but, you'll see in the recipe below, that I'm still using one pot.  The sauce is my favorite light bechamel and don't skip the crunchy topping.  The combination of biting through the crumb to the soft, slightly nutty texture beneath is very satisfying.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

For the Rice:
1/4 Cup wild rice
1/2 Cup white rice (your choice but I used jasmine)
2 1/2 Cups water

For the Sauce:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 Cup low fat milk
1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 Tablespoon chopped chives
1/4 Teaspoon garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste

For the Topping:
1/4 Cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Add the wild rice and 1 cup of water to a pot.  Bring to a boil, cover and lower the heat.  Simmer for 45 minutes before adding the white rice and the additional 1 1/2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil again, cover and lower the heat.  Simmer for an additional 20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender.  While the rice is cooking, make the sauce by heating the olive oil in a large skillet.  Turn the heat to low, add the flour and whisk until all the flour is coated with the oil.  Slowly whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth and all the lumps are gone.  Add the cheese, garlic powder, chives and season to taste.

When the rice is ready, add it to the sauce and combine thoroughly.  You can leave it in the skillet if it's oven proof or pour it into a baking dish.  In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with the olive oil and sprinkle on top of the rice mixture.  Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  Makes 2 servings.

8 comments:

  1. Rice is my arch nemesis...in that I swear it has an agenda against my hips if I eat too much. But, I want this SO bad!

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  2. I love this combination of white and wild rice...not one bit boring!

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  3. Anita! I adore wild rice... your dish looks so scrumptious!

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  4. My mouth is watering, Anita! This is like mac 'n cheese but with rice. Being Chinese, I've eaten rice almost every day of my entire life. I've actually met Asian people who have told me they hate rice. I tell them they need to renounce their Asian-ness There ain't nothin' boring about this dish - I can't wait to make this!

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  5. I love rice , could this be done with brown rice. It would make it a bit healthier for me. Just a question no hurry to answer. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi Jackie,

      Although there's no reason why the recipe wouldn't work with brown rice, I actually don't recommend it. The appeal of this dish is the contrast between the soft white rice and the nutty flavor of the wild rice. Brown rice has a nutty flavor as well so, substituting it for the white would not give you the contrast that makes this recipe unique. You can, of course, do a brown rice bake and leave out the wild rice altogether. Or just indulge in this once in a while and leave the brown rice for every day. I hope that helps!

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  6. Jasmine is my favorite too! My son-in-law makes the best bowl of rice I've ever had (learned from his mom) so he will steam me up a huge amount and I'll freeze it in small containers. I love that you baked your wild and jasmine rice with cheese! It's cooler this week and rainy so I plan to make some of this - or have David make it for me!

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  7. This sounds so delicious. Never made rice quite like this..

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