Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Roasted vegetable and brown rice gratin
For the rice:
10oz/275ml brown basmati rice
1tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
1pint/570ml hot stock
1 tsp salt
For the vegetables:
10oz/275g butternut squash (peeled weight)
5oz/150g each of the following: celeriac, swede, carrots, parsnips (peeled weight)
2 medium red onions, peeled
1 heaped tbsp chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley thyme tarragon)
1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
2tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly milled black pepper
For the cheese sauce:
1.5oz/40g plain flour
a little cayenne pepper
2oz/50g mature cheddar, grated
1oz/25g parmesan, finely grated
a little freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and black pepper
Preheat to 230c/450f
For the veg:
Cut the Squash, celeriac, swede, carrots, and parsnips, into 1 inch cubes. Place them and the red onions, each cut into 6 pieces through the root, into a bowl along with the herbs, garlic, a good seasoning of salt and pepper and the olive oil, then toss them around so they get a good coating of oil, and herbs. Arrange them evenly all over a baking tray, then place it on the highest shelf for about 30 minutes, or till they are nicely brown at the edges. As soon as they are ready, take them out and reduce the temp to 400f/200c.
For the rice, warm the frying pan over a medium heat, then add the oil and the onions and let them cook for 3-4 minutes until lightly tinged brown. Next stir in the rice and turn the grains in the pan till they become lightly coated and glistening with oil.
Add the boiling stock along with the salt, stir once only then cover with the lid. Turn the heat to the very lowest setting and cook for 40-45 minutes. Do not remove the lid and do not stir.
Meanwhile make the cheese sauce by placing the milk, flour, butter and a pinch of cayenne into a medium sized saucepan, then whisk it all together over a gentle heat till you have a smooth glossy sauce. Let it cook on the lowest heat for 5 minutes, and after that add half the cheeses. Whisk again and allow them to melt into it, then season with salt pepper and nutmeg.
Once the parts are cooked, arrange the rice in an ovenproof dish, put the vegetables on top of that, followed by the sauce, pouring it over and around the veg as evenly as possible. Scatter over the remaining cheeses and a sprinkling of cayenne then return the dish to the oven and give it about 20 minutes till the sauce is browned and bubbling.
This manages to be both total comfort food, and also good healthy fairly diet friendly (there is very little cheese in the cheese sauce) food at the same time. Excellent! I realized after I started making it that it’s kind of a cheat to put it on here as it is actually quite similar to another Delia Smith recipe that I made before. It’s sort of a winter vegetable, and rice version of the Gratin of Rigatoni with Roasted Vegetables. Still, it was different enough that I figured it would be ok.
I have to say, it really was great. It’s such a simple way of preparing the vegetables, but it yields such a great flavor and texture, and the sauce is way easy to make, and so tasty. This one is all good. Even my older son (3 yrs), who is going through his picky eater phase, ate everything on his plate. That’s really saying a lot.