Sunday, March 24, 2019

Fiesta Veggie Rice

If you read last week’s meal plan, you'll know that I made my Taco Meatloaf (always a winner) and Fiesta Veggie Rice from Abrams new cookbook Pescan, A Feel Good Cookbook by Abbie Cornish and Jacqueline King Schiller, to serve as a side. It is not nearly as much work as the recipe would make it appear, and it is so yummy! Each recipe in this book includes a note on what the authors call a "feel good" ingredient. The feel good ingredient in this recipe is oregano. Oregano, according to the book, is closely related to mint, so it has many of the same health benefits. It is a common digestive aid, and the essential oils in oregano have antibacterial and antifungal properties. As with most herbs it is extremely rich in antioxidants. It also provides a wonderful depth of flavor to this delicious rice dish. I have enough left over to freeze for later, and plan on having it as a main dish at some future point.
Fiesta Veggie Rice
from Pescan, A Feel Good Cookbook

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ onion, diced
1 cup
brown basmati rice, rinsed and drained well
½ (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 carrot, thinly sliced into coins
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1¾ cups
vegetable broth
¾ teaspoon kosher sea salt
¾ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon
ground cumin
½ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon
smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
1 cup frozen peas
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

In a large pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat the oil over medium heat until hot, about one minute, then add the onion. Sauté until soft and translucent, about two minutes. Add the rice and stir continuously until the grains smell nutty and appear translucent and lightly toasted on the tips, about three minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid from the tomatoes evaporates, about three minutes more. Add the carrot and celery and stir.

Pour in the vegetable broth and add the salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, and paprika. Stir to dissolve the spices. Add the bay leaf and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook for 45 minutes, or until the grains are tender and most of the water is absorbed. If there is excess water at 45 minutes, leave the lid off and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the rice to rest, covered, for 10 minutes.

While the rice cooks, placed the peas in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Stir once and allow the water to cool.* When the rice is done resting, drain the peas and fold them into the rice, fluffing rice with a fork as needed. Remove the bay leaf. Garnish with the cilantro and serve immediately, or cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days or three months in the freezer.

Serves 6.
*I found this step unnecessary. I thawed the peas while I was making this dish, and then stirred them in at the end, heating through. This worked just fine.

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