Time to Cook!

Inspiration for wholesome weeknight & weekend cooking.

Posts tagged ‘rice’

My mother-in-law Patsy is from New Orleans and she is a great cook.  She can do all of the New Orleans specialties – homemade beignets, crawfish etouffee, shrimp creole, turkey and sausage gumbo, etc.  She serves dirty rice as a side dish at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner in place of stuffing or mashed potatoes.  This dish is so incredibly flavorful.  I sometimes serve it as our main course for dinner with a side salad.  Every Mardi Gras (this year it’s on Tues., March 4th), I cook something traditional for dinner (complete with colorful bead necklaces and silly hats) so the boys will be aware of their heritage.  Note: if the organ meat in the recipe grosses you out, try it without and I bet it would still be good.  The original recipe calls for all organ meat, but instead, I use mostly ground beef and add just a bit of organ meat, which gives the dish a complex and rich flavor.  Chicken livers and gizzards, although high in cholesterol, do offer a ton of vitamins and minerals (iron and zinc) and protein and are fine in moderation.  You can ask for chicken livers and gizzards at the meat counter at Whole Foods.

Dirty rice

Recipe adapted from The New Orleans Cookbook.

Dirty Rice

Serves 4.

“Dirty rice is a popular Cajun dish made with chicken livers and gizzards, vegetables, long grain rice and lots of pepper.  It is served as an accompaniment to poultry and meat.  If the main dish has a gravy, you pour some of it over the dirty rice.  Don’t use leftover rice warmed up; the dish will have an unpleasant texture.”

Ingredients:

1/4 pound chicken gizzards

1/4 pound chicken livers

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 pound ground beef

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 tablespoons finely minced garlic

1 2/3 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup finely chopped celery

1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 cup finely minced fresh parsley

3 cups Boiled Rice (see below)

Directions:

Add chicken gizzards and chicken livers to a small pot of boiling water and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Remove with slotted spoon and purée in blender (I use a Mini Prep Processor).  Set aside only 1 tablespoon of this puréed organ meat for the recipe; discard the rest.  Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet or Le Creuset and cook the ground meat until it begins to brown.  Add the flour, garlic, onion, celery, and green pepper and mix well.  Cook until the vegetables begin to turn soft and slightly brown.  Add 1 tablespoon of puréed organ meat to the skillet along with the salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, most of the parsley, and 2 tablespoons of water.  Cook over low heat for a few more minutes, adding a bit more water during cooking if necessary.  Remove skillet from heat.  Toss in the cooked rice and stir; serve hot.  Garnish with a bit of parsley.

Boiled Rice

“Firm, fluffy, freshly prepared boiled rice is the essential accompaniment to so many of our dishes… Rice is served with gumbos, bean dishes, crawfish bisque, etoufees, and many other dishes.  Preparing it this way takes only 15 minutes, very little more than any pre-cooked convenience rice, and gives you the superb texture and flavor only freshly cooked rice has.  The tiny amount of butter keeps the grains from sticking together.”

Serves 4.

Ingredients:

1 cup long grain white rice

2 cups cold water

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon salted butter

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a heavy 3-quart saucepan with a tight-fitting cover and bring to a boil over high heat.  Stir once with a fork, then cover tightly and reduce the heat to very low.  Cook covered for exactly 15 minutes.  Do not lift the cover during cooking.  Remove the pan from the heat, uncover, and fluff the rice gently with a fork.

Note: the rice will keep warm enough for serving second helpings if you use a heavy saucepan and keep it covered after serving.  Another way to keep the extra rice warm is to put the covered saucepan in a pre-heated 175 degree oven.  Do not keep it warm for more than 25 minutes.

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I don’t know about you, but I always seem to mess up rice!  I know it’s a simple thing to cook, but if you are off on something (size of the pot, amount of the water, level of heat, cooking time, etc.) you can be left with a sticky mess or burnt rice.  I’m so bad at cooking rice, that  lot of times I resort to (don’t tell!) Boil-in-a-bag Success Rice, but that’s not as good for you.  We are supposed to be eating slow-cooked foods — and choosing whole grains over white.  So, I was over-the-moon when I tried Gwyneth’s recipe for Perfectly Cooked Brown Rice.  Just like it promises, your rice will turn out beautifully and it does keep well in the fridge for a few days.

Perfectly Cooked Brown RicePerfectly Cooked Brown Rice

Recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook “It’s All Good

Makes 3 cups

1 cup short-grain brown rice

1 3/4 cup water

Coarse sea salt

Rinse the rice thoroughly in a fine-mesh strainer until the water runs clear.  Place it in a pot set over high heat with the water and a big pinch of salt.  Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat, cover the pot, and cook until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked through, exactly 45 minutes.  Turn the heat off, place a dry paper towel between the pot and the lid, and let the rice sit for at least 5 minutes before giving it a fluff with a fork.

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This rice is so delicious — one taste and you won’t believe you made it!  Nothing hard about this — it just requires you to make the rice the day/night before.  Great served with fish, chicken or steak with an Asian flavor profile.  I have served this with Miso-Glazed Black Cod.

Stir-Fried Brown Rice with Seaweed & Black Sesame

Recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook “It’s All Good

Stir-Fried Brown Rice with Nori + Black Sesame

“This simple dish isn’t just a great way to dress up leftover rice, it actually depends on leftover rice, since leftover rice is drier than freshly cooked rice and the kernels get browned and crispy when you stir-fry them with this lovely combination of flavors.”

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cups day-old Perfectly Cooked Brown Rice

Coarse sea salt

2 sheets toasted nori seaweed

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon soy sauce or Tamari

1 teaspoon toasted black sesame seeds

2 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet set over high heat.  Add the rice, along with a big pinch of salt, and cook, stirring, until warmed through and just barely beginning to brown, 2-3 minutes. Using scissors, shred the nori finely and add it along with the remaining ingredients.  Stir to combine and serve immediately.

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