Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Brown Rice Casserole

Hi everyone...my Mont Blanc is coming, I promise, and then a new recipe but I wanted to post this because it's one of my favorites. It's probably one of Robert's least favorites but oh well! My sister-in-law discovered it a few years back in one of the Greens cookbooks...her husband calls it the "Kibbutz Special"! It's basically mush but I'm a mush fan I guess. Anyway, enjoy. I didn't follow the recipe exactly last week...used that amount of rice but more veggies probably and definitely more cheese (I like extra-sharp Cheddar). And I used the whole block of tofu as I couldn't think of anything I wanted to do with the other half. Makes great leftovers.

Brown Rice Casserole


4 cups brown rice (1 1/2 cups raw)
Half block of tofu (8 to 9 ounces) firm
1 large onion
2 medium carrots
2 stalks celery
1 yellow pepper
2 medium zucchini or other summer squash
6 ounces mushrooms, wiped clean
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mushroom broth, vegetable stock, or water
6 ounces grated cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh herbs: parsley or cilantro, thyme, marjoram, for garnish

1. If you don't have any leftover cooked rice, begin by cooking 1 1/2 cups of brown rice. Set the tofu on a slanted board or pan to drain, and prepare the vegetables.

2. Chop the onion, carrots, celery, pepper, and zucchini into pieces that are roughly 1/2-inch square. Quarter the mushrooms if they are small, and cut them into sixths or eigths if they are large. Return to the tofu, and cut it into 1/2-inch cubes.

3. Heat the olive oil and the butter, and fry the onion over medium heat until iit is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, and salt. Stir until blended and cook for 1 minute; then add the carrots, celery, and pepper. Add 1/2 cup of the liquid, cover the pan, and braise the vegetables until they have begun to soften, about 5 minutes. Then add the zucchini and the mushrooms and cook another 7 to 10 minutes. The vegetables should be nearly, but not completely, cooked. If the pan gets dry while they are cooking, add a little more liquid.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the vegetables with the rice and the cheese. Season with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Gently mix in the tofu, and put the whole mixture into a casserole that has been lightly oiled or buttered, and add a little more liquid to moisten. Cover the casserole with foil and bake for 1/2 hour. Remove the foil and bake another 15 minutes. Serve garnished with the fresh herbs.