Friday, March 11, 2011

Spinach and Whole Grain Rice topped with Gruyere

This is a lovely light dish which could be served as a vegetarian lunch for two maybe with a tomato salad or as a side to something a bit more substantial.  For the vegetarian recipe, skip the Gruyere and use a hard strong cheese made with either no rennet or a vegetable rennet - Sheridans stock both Gabriel and Desmond Cheese made by Bill Hogan and Sean Ferry in Co. Cork using a vegetarian rennet.

You will need, for 2 people:

160g washed young spinach leaves
60g whole grain rice
1 pinch nutmeg
2 eggs
150ml whole milk
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

(note all amounts are approximately what I had left in the larder, so if the spinach to rice content is slightly different, don't worry)

Bring a pan of lightly salted water to the boil and boil the rice for 10 minutes.
Add the spinach leaves to the top, place a lid on and let it simmer for a minute or two until the leaves have crumpled and broken down.

Strain the rice and spinach through a colander and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the two eggs and slowly add the milk whisking while you do so.
Add the pinch of nutmeg and some salt and pepper.
Combine the rice and spinach with the eggs and milk and mix thoroughly to ensure that the spinach is evenly distributed.
Spoon into a lightly greased oven proof dish.

Place in the oven for 30-35 minutes, depending on the depth of your dish.  A shallower dish cooking more quickly than a deeper one.

Left as it is, this is a perfect vegetarian dish but as my fridge is over flowing with Swiss cheeses, I removed mine after 20 minutes and sprinkled the top with exactly 42g of grated Gruyere.  It would also be good if you added some diced. crispy pancetta chunks to the rice and spinach before baking.

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