Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Baked Spanish Rice

Baked Spanish Rice is a hearty, healthy meal in a bowl perfect for the winter blahs when hot, but is also delicious cold as a Summer salad! Brown rice is mixed with onion, garlic, red peppers, artichokes and carrots before being doused in a tomato-meat sauce with a heady dose of paprika. An hour and a half of hands off cook time and voila! Dinner is served.

Despite the fact that it can be up to 40 degrees Celsius outside with the humidity, I have been drawn to the kitchen and specifically the oven. Part of this is that I do tend to batch-cook for the week ahead, not just that night's dinner, so I am able to prep food later in the evening when it's cooled off a bit. Another is that I've been spending a decent portion of my summer out of town, so I need to be able to make meals that travel and hold well too. This baked rice, like so many of my recipes, came out of the fact that I had containers of chicken broth and meat sauce sitting in my freezer from back in the school year that I really needed to use up, if only for the reason that I needed freezer space (hello Summer fruit season!). Being a bona fide Spanish rice lover, I wanted to make a version of it that I could throw together and more or less let cook while I gardened and did laundry, and baked rice fit the bill perfectly.

Of course, I was not content with simply making "pure" Spanish rice, the kind that's basically tomatoes and white rice. Nope, I wanted a meal in a bowl, full of flavour, protein and veggies, but light on the oil. We always have artichoke hearts on hand (mom loves them), and onions, peppers and carrots are mainstays in the house too. The crowning spice (and one of my personal favourites) was paprika, and I was not shy with it (dial it to your own tastes though). After an hour and a half - where I literally did nothing - I had a huge pot of food that was excellent warm and cold. While it was a meal in itself, it didn't stop mom from pairing it with some grilled trout for dinner (which honestly looked delicious too!). I will definitely be making this again when school starts back up, maybe with a vegan "meat" sauce for variety as well.

What do you tend to eat in the Summer? Is it no-cook or are you like me and baking up a storm? Let me know in the comments!

Baked Spanish Rice
Serves 8
3 cups long grain brown rice 
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups prepared meat sauce (I used a homemade turkey meat sauce)
1 cup low sodium tomato / vegetable juice or water
1 small onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, chopped
2 carrots, shredded
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp paprika (or to taste)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp dried basil
  1. Heat the oven to 350F and grease a large Dutch oven or covered casserole (I used my Staub)
  2. Combine all the ingredients in the pot, mixing well.
  3. Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours, until the rice is cooked through. 
  4. Let stand 10 minutes with the lid off, then fluff and serve.

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