Rice is not a food we give a lot of thought to. We regard it as something that comes with our Asian take-out food or accompanies some of our favorite Mexican fare. At home we smother it with gravy or use it as the base for some soups and seafood dishes like chicken soup, gumbo and jambalaya, or our beloved Monday red beans.
Well, think again! We’re taking rice mainstream! Here are some rice recipes that are great eaten alone as a vegetarian option or paired with popular roasted, baked, or grilled entrees. You might even want to consider one of these for your Easter dinner table.
Ginger and Soy-glazed Salmon with Black Rice
SALMON Olive oil
- 2 tablespoons mirin (can use rice vinegar)
- 2 tablespoons red miso paste (can use tahini)
- 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger 4 salmon fillets
- 1 medium scallion, thinly sliced
- (white and light green parts only), for garnish 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced (optional)
- 1 scallion, sliced
- cup roasted red peppers, cut crosswise into ¼-inch-thick strips
- cup water chestnuts, drained and sliced 1 cup black rice
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 cup frozen edamame or lima beans
For the salmon: Heat the oven to broil and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with foil and coat with oil; set aside. Whisk the mirin, miso, brown sugar, soy sauce, and ginger in a medium bowl until combined. Reserve half of the miso mixture in a small bowl; set aside. Strain the remaining miso mixture, discarding the solids and set the strained sauce aside. Rinse and pat dry the salmon fillets; brush all over with all of the unstrained miso mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
For the rice: Heat oil over medium heat, in a medium saucepan, Add mushrooms and sauté until soft. Add scallions, peppers, water chestnuts and rice, and cook for 1 minute. Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until all liquid has evaporated, about 30 minutes. Remove top from rice and fluff 6 with a fork. Pour the soy sauce and oil over the rice and add edamame. Stir and set aside.
Remove the fish from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap. Broil the salmon on the baking sheet, rotating once or twice, until it’s just opaque in the center and a golden brown crust has formed, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the salmon from the oven and keep warm. Serve over rice and sprinkle with the scallions and sesame seeds. Pass the strained sauce on the side.
Apricot Roasted Cornish Hens with Wild Rice Dressing
- 4 Cornish hens
- *Chef Belinda Everyday Spice Blend
- 2 lemons, quartered
- 4 small shallots
- 4 large garlic cloves, peeled
- Fresh oregano sprigs
- Olive oil
- ½ cup apricot preserves, optional
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup wild rice
- 1/2 cup white long grain rice
- 1/2 cup dried cherries (or dried apricots)
- 2 tablespoons sherry
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup chopped celery
- ½ cup chopped leeks
- ½ cup halved and sliced carrots
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ½ tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- ½ tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted (or slivered almonds)
For hens: Preheat oven to 500°F. Place a cast iron skillet large enough to hold the hens in the cold oven, and allow to remain while oven heats. Rinse and pat dry hens with a paper towel; season inside and out. Place inside each hen 2 lemon wedges, 1 shallot, 1 garlic clove and some fresh oregano stems. Tie hens’ legs together with kitchen twine and fold wingtips under back. Sprinkle hens with olive oil and rub all over to distribute evenly.
Remove heated skillet from oven and place hens in the skillet. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower heat to 350°F. Continue baking for 35-40 minutes or until brown and temperature reaches 165°F on an instant-read thermometer. (If hens start to brown too fast, loosely tent with foil.)
In a small saucepan over medium heat mix apricot preserves with 1 tablespoon water and cook until spreadable, 3-5 minutes. With 15 minutes of cooking time left, brush mixture over top and sides of hens. After total cooking time, remove from oven. Let hens rest for 15 minutes and remove twine before serving.
For rice: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat bring stock to a boil. Stir in wild rice, returning to a boil; then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir in white rice, returning to a boil; then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes more or until tender. Drain off any excess liquid and cool to room temperature. While rice is cooking, in a small bowl combine cherries and sherry. Let stand, covered, for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and add oil. Add celery, leeks and carrots; cook and stir until tender about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, thyme, sage, salt and pepper; cook and stir for 1 minute longer. Lightly spray a medium casserole with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl combine the cooked rice, cherry mixture, vegetable mixture and nuts. Transfer to the prepared casserole dish. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes or until heated through, stirring once or twice.
Blackened Pork Chops with Caribbean Rice
- 4 1-inch thick pork chops
- *Chef Belinda Blackened Spice Blend 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3-4 slices bacon, cut into ½-inch strips
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup rice, uncooked
- 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1-1/2 cups chicken stock, more if needed Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves ½ teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained, optional
- Fresh thyme leaves, garnish
For chops: Preheat oven to 375°F. Rinse and pat dry pork chops with a paper towel and season on both sides. In a large, cast iron skillet, heat oil on medium-high. Sear/brown chops on both sides about 2-3 minutes. Put skillet into oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until internal temperature is 145°F. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
For rice: While chops are in oven, in a large heavy-bottom skillet cook bacon pieces until brown. Remove and drain on a pepper towel. Remove all but 1-1/2 tablespoons of grease in skillet. Add onion and bell pepper to same skillet and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and sauté another 30 seconds. Add rice and cook until rice turns a golden color. Add tomato sauce, stock and salt and stir until blended. Bring to a boil and lower heat to simmer. Add Tabasco, parsley, thyme, cardamom and turmeric and return bacon pieces to skillet. If desired, add beans at this time. Stir, cover and cook until all liquid has evaporated.
*Chef Belinda Spices are available at www.chefbelinda.com or at La Dolcé, 960 Dougherty Road
Chef Belinda Smith-Sullivan is a food writer, personal chef, and pilot who enjoys exploring the “off the beaten path” culinary world. Her love of cooking and entertaining motivated her to give up a corporate career to pursue a degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University. Now living in Aiken, she currently markets her own spice line called Chef Belinda Spices. She is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, Charleston chapter, a philanthropical organization of women in the foodservice industry.