Now this, I really did just make up as I went along. I had to make a dish to pass for Thursday’s holiday luncheon at work. I planned to make something like the squash risotto but then I just did not feel like doing all the stirring required. And cutting up a hard, awkwardly shaped squash.
On our sign-up sheet I had marked “casserole” and US/Italy as the country (this year’s theme was international). A little departure from that but I definitely think I got the US of A part down!
All American Rice Casserole
Ingredients1/2 bunch asparagus
1 small red onion
1 can creamed corn
5-6 cherry tomatoes, halved
brown rice (2 cups dry)
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 mashed clove of garlic
- I cooked the rice in the rice cooker first. Took about 40 minutes for 2 dried cups of short grain brown rice. I let that work its magic while we ate dinner (see Part 1). When ready, preheat oven to 350°.
- Trim asparagus, set tips aside then cut stems in to 1/2 inch pieces.
- Quarter the red onion then slice thinly.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds then add red onion. Sprinkle a little salt on the onions to encourage the water to come out.
- Season onions with 1 teaspoon dried sage and 1/4 tsp nutmeg (I grated part of a whole nutmeg using a microplane grater). Reduce heat to medium-low and allow onions to soften and begin caramelizing.
- Meanwhile, spread cooked brown rice in the bottom of a large casserole dish. Unless the rice is very moist, pour a 1/4 to 1/2 cup broth (chicken or vegetable) over it. Sprinkle generously with grated Gouda cheese. Spread 1 can of creamed corn over the rice and cheese. Season with 1 teaspoon dried sage and a dash or two of nutmeg.
- When onions have just started to brown, add sliced asparagus stems to pan. Cook 2-3 minutes until asparagus turns bright green.
- Spread onion-asparagus mixture over corn in casserole dish. Cover completely with grated Gouda; get right up the the edge of the casserole dish.
- Bake, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove covering and raise temperature to 475 or turn on broiler. Scatter tomato halves, asparagus tips and sliced (or slivered) almonds over top of casserole. Cook 10 minutes more until almonds begin to turn light brown. I did this under the broiler, about 8-10 inches from the element. Closer in, I would say 5 minutes or less- watch for burning!
Since I really did just make this up as a I went along, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. Then I was late getting in the buffet line today and wondered if I’d get to try out my own dish! But I did. It was about 1/2 gone (and completely gone by the time the serving was over). I’m pleased but I would say that this dish is best served hot from the oven with the cheese bubbling. Being reheated and held in the oven dries out the rice.