Cooking rice is somehow perceived to be an Eastern thing. You have it in your kitchen, but it’s always at the back of the farthest shelf; when you actually get down to cooking rice, it gets pushed to the back of the plate. It doesn’t have to be that way though. Aromatic basmati can fill your kitchen and sometimes a whole street with an aroma that’s irresistible. For recipes that will really shine up your culinary reputation, here is a sophisticated way to start. But be warned, this one can be a really great way to get your children hooked on vegetarianism.
Let’s call this the spinach and Swiss chard basmati. This is a great way to start cooking rice for children because it tastes and smells almost as good even when it’s cold in the lunch box. It’s easy to cook and you don’t need any special equipment, although a rice cooker will make the job much easier.
Here is what you will need :
A pound of Swiss chard, and half as much spinach. You’ll need a bit of extra virgin olive oil, an onion, three eggs, thyme, rosemary, garlic, Gruyère cheese, and of course, you’ll need a cup of brown basmati rice. We begin by getting the rice ready. If you have a rice cooker, cooking rice becomes really easy. If you don’t, you could just steam it in boiling water.
Start with the Swiss chard. Cut off the stems, and strip out all the leaves. These leaves are what you will need. Put a large pot of water on the stove, put in say, a tablespoon full of salt, and boil the chard leaves in it. It’ll take about two minutes to tenderize the leaves this way. Take them out with a strainer right away, and cool them down in ordinary water. You could then chop them up to use later.
Next comes the part where you begin cooking the chard stalks in the oven. Get the oven ready by preheating it to 375 degrees. The chard stalks you got when you stripped out the leaves, you need to dice up. You need to stirfry them. But first, chop up an onion, and stirfry it in a heavy skillet for a couple of minutes. Add in the chard that you just diced, and throw in a teaspoon of chopped-up Rosemary, and a half teaspoon of dried thyme. Stirfry the whole thing for another five minutes, and then add in the garlic. Keep it going until the garlic is all nice and fragrant.
Now this is when you bring in the chard leaves and the spinach. Put that in along with the steamed rice and cheese. Stir in a little salt and pepper, and you’re done for now. This recipe requires cooking rice in an oven. Transfer everything you just stir-fried to a baking dish, add in the three eggs all nicely beaten, sprinkle a little olive oil on it all, and put it in to bake. It should bake long enough to get firm and all nicely browned. It should take about 40 minutes.
This really is a recipe of its time. It does really well with advanced preparation methods. For instance, all that chopping and boiling can be done up to two days before you actually intend to make the recipe. And once you have popped it into your rice cooker and cooked it, it’ll keep in the fridge for about four days.