Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Coconut Cardamom Rice Casserole – from Cook’s Illustrated

Here’s another recipe I used in my Cuban Christmas menu – it’s a good one, especially if you want to serve rice to a big crowd. Nothing worse than fiddling with food on the stove at the last minute. This goes into a casserole and then into the oven.  Super easy and perfect with my Ropa Vieja.  I did not garnish this with cilantro and lime because I also served a mango salsa which was loaded with both cilantro and lime. The cashew topping on this dish was outstanding! I would never have thought of this! Crunchy and salty and buttery.

Here's my Cuban Christmas meal. Ropa Vieja. Mango Salsa.
Cardamom Rice. And off to the side- Pineapple Coconut Layer Cake
with Pineapple Curd. 

Cook’s Illustrated has the very best recipes and methods, in my opinion.  The research that goes into every recipe is incredible and I can’t even imagine how many repetitions they must do to get the perfect end product.  If you’ve ever seen their TV show then you know that they treat every recipe like a mini science experiment, explaining how every protein, fat, spice and temperature contribute to the recipe.

I found this recipe in a huge hard cover cook book called “Cover and Bake,” but I see it all over the internet also. This makes a huge 9x13 casserole, so maybe cut everything in half if you don’t want too many leftovers.

Here’s what you need:
For the topping:
1 C roasted, unsalted cashews
4 slices good white bread, torn in pieces
2 T melted Earth Balance non-dairy butter

For the rice:
2 T Earth Balance non-dairy butter
1 medium onion, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 T fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t cardamom
4 C vegetable broth
4 C coconut milk (Silk brand beverage)
2 C water
3 C rice
Salt and pepper to taste
(cilantro and lime for garnish)

Here’s what you do:
Process the cashews in a food processor until crumbly – not too long. Add the bread and melted Earth Balance and process until crumbly.  Set aside.

Melt 2 T Earth Balance. Saute the onions and jalapenos until soft, but not brown – about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cardamom and ginger and continue to cook for a few minutes. Add the broth, milk and water. Bring to a simmer. Add the rice, salt and pepper. Return to a simmer, lower heat, cover and cook for about 20 minutes – stirring often. Pour creamy rice mixture in a prepared 9x13 casserole. Top with cashew bread crumbs. Bake 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

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