Tag Archives: rice/grains

Creamy polenta

6 cups water


1.5 cups coarse grain polenta

3 T butter

2 ounces parmasean cheese

  • Bring 1.5 teaspoon salt a water to a boil, then slowly whisk in polenta
  • Cover, reduce heat and cook on low heat until polenta is smooth, about 30 minutes
  • Stir in butter and 3/4 cups cheese

Spinach Polenta Topped with Tomatoes (Moosewood)

Spinach Polenta

2 cups water

2 cups milk

1 tsp salt

1 cup polenta cornmeal

1 cup grated parmesan

8 oz fresh baby spinach

Fresh Tomato Topping

4 large tomatoes or 8-10 plum tomatoes

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

2 T olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp dried oregano

2 T balsamic vinegar


To make the polenta: In a saucepan, bring the water, milk, and salt to a boil. Add the cornmeal in a slow, steady stream while whisking. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the polenta is thick.

Meanwhile, prepare the topping: Cut the tomatoes into wedges. In a saucepan on med-low heat, cook the garlic in the oil for a minute. Add the tomatoes, salt, oregano, and vinegar and simmer for about 5 minutes, just until hot.

When the polenta is thick, reduce the heat to low and stir in the cheese until melted and smooth. Fold in the spinach, a couple of handfuls at a time, until just wilted.

Serve the polenta hot, topped with the tomatoes and more cheese if you wish.

Thai curry fried rice

Makes about 8 cups, serving 4 to 6.


1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8 ounces), cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
2 large eggs , beaten lightly
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 large onion , sliced thin
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 medium cloves garlic , minced (about 2 teaspoons)
5 Thai green chiles or 3 jalapeño chiles, seeded and minced (about 2 tablespoons)
6 cups cooked white rice (cold), large clumps broken up with fingers
5 medium scallions , sliced thin (about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
Lime wedges for serving


  1. Dissolve sugar in fish and soy sauces in small bowl; set aside. Season chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt; set aside.
  2. Heat 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot, about 2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and swirl to coat pan bottom. Add eggs and cook without stirring, until they just begin to set, about 20 seconds, then scramble and break into small pieces with wooden spoon; continue to cook, stirring constantly, until eggs are cooked through but not browned, about 1 minute longer. Transfer eggs to small bowl and set aside.
  3. Return skillet to burner, increase heat to high and heat skillet until hot, about 1 minute; add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and swirl to coat pan bottom. Add 1 teaspoon curry and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds; add chicken and cook, stirring constantly, until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl with eggs and set aside.
  4. Return skillet to high heat and heat until hot, about 1 minute; add remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons oil and swirl to coat pan bottom. Add onion and 1 tablespoon curry and cook, stirring constantly, until onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and chiles; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add rice and fish sauce mixture; cook, stirring constantly and breaking up rice clumps until mixture is heated through, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and chicken, scallions, and cilantro; cook, stirring constantly until heated through, about 1 minute. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

Couscous pilaf

Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish.   Published February 1, 2005.

For the fluffiest texture, use a large fork to fluff the grains; a spoon or spatula would destroy the light texture. Specialty markets may carry couscous of varying size, but stick to the classic kind. Other sizes require different cooking methods.


4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups plain couscous
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1 small onion , chopped fine
3/4 cup raisins
Table salt
1 3/4 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon
Ground black pepper


  1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the foaming subsides, add the couscous and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until some grains are beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Scrape the grains from the skillet into a large bowl and return the pan to medium heat. Add the almonds and cook, stirring frequently, until they are lightly toasted and aromatic, about 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape them into a small bowl.
  2. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet. Once it melts, add the onion, raisins, and 3/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened and is beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and water, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the boiling liquid to the bowl with the toasted couscous, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and allow to sit until the couscous is tender, about 12 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap, fluff the grains with a fork, and gently stir in the almonds and lemon juice. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Mexican Rice

Serves 6-8 as a side dish.   Published September 1, 2004.

Because the spiciness of jalapeños varies from chile to chile, we try to control the heat by removing the ribs and seeds (the source of most of the heat) from those chiles that are cooked in the rice. Use an ovensafe pot about 12 inches in diameter so that the rice cooks evenly and in the time indicated. The pot’s depth is less important than its diameter; we’ve successfully used both a straight-sided sauté pan and a Dutch oven. Whichever type of pot you use, it should have a tight-fitting, ovensafe lid. Vegetable broth can be substituted for chicken broth.


2 ripe tomatoes (about 12 ounces), cored and quartered (or 1 14.5oz can of tomatoes, undrained)
1 medium onion , preferably white, peeled, trimmed of root end,and quartered
3 medium jalapeño chiles
2 cups long grain white rice (or long-grain brown rice, BUT SEE BOLD NOTES)
1/3 cup canola oil
4 cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 4 teaspoons)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth) (2 1/2 cups for brown rice)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
1 lime , cut into wedges for serving


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Process tomatoes and onion in food processor until smooth and thoroughly pureed, about 15 seconds, scraping down bowl if necessary. Transfer mixture to liquid measuring cup; you should have 2 cups (if necessary, spoon off excess so that volume equals 2 cups). Remove ribs and seeds from 2 jalapeños and discard; mince flesh and set aside. Mince remaining jalapeño, including ribs and seeds; set aside.
  2. Place rice in large fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear, about 1 1/2 minutes. Shake rice vigorously in strainer to remove all excess water.
  3. Heat oil in heavy-bottomed ovensafe 12-inch straight-sided sauté pan or Dutch oven with tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat, 1 to 2 minutes. Drop 3 or 4 grains rice in oil; if grains sizzle, oil is ready. Add rice and fry, stirring frequently, until rice is light golden and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and seeded minced jalapeños; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in pureed tomatoes and onions, chicken broth, tomato paste, and salt; increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil. Cover pan and transfer to oven; bake until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring well after 15 minutes. (FOR BROWN RICE: 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring well after every 30 minutes.)
  4. Stir in cilantro and reserved minced jalapeño with seeds to taste. Serve immediately, passing lime wedges separately.

Tomato paella

3 1/2 cups stock or water1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into thick wedges

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, minced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon tomato paste

Large pinch saffron threads (optional)

2 teaspoons Spanish pimentón (smoked paprika), or other paprika

2 cups Spanish or other short-grain rice

Minced parsley for garnish.

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Warm stock or water in a saucepan. Put tomatoes in a medium bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle them with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss to coat.

2. Put remaining oil in a 10- or 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, saffron if you are using it, and paprika and cook for a minute more. Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is shiny, another minute or two. Add liquid and stir until just combined.

3. Put tomato wedges on top of rice and drizzle with juices that accumulated in bottom of bowl. Put pan in oven and roast, undisturbed, for 15 minutes. Check to see if rice is dry and just tender. If not, return pan to oven for another 5 minutes. If rice looks too dry but still is not quite done, add a small amount of stock or water (or wine). When rice is ready, turn off oven and let pan sit for 5 to 15 minutes.

4. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle with parsley. If you like, put pan over high heat for a few minutes to develop a bit of a bottom crust before serving.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.


Serves 6-8

2 whole bay leaves
1½ tsp salt
1½ tsp ground red pepper (preferably cayenne)
1½ tsp dried oregano
1¼ tsp white pepper
1 tsp black pepper
¾ dried thyme

2 T chicken fat or lard (butter or vegetable oil could also be used)

2/3 c chopped tasso or other smoked ham (3 oz)
½ c chopped andouille sausage or other good pork sausage (3 oz)
1½ c chopped onions
1 c chopped celery
¾ c chopped green peppers
½ c chicken cut into bite sized pieces (4-6 oz)
1½ tsp chopped garlic (2 cloves)
1 pound chopped tomatoes
¾ c tomato sauce (can omit if using good tomatoes)
2 c seafood or chicken stock
½ c chopped green onions
2 c uncooked rice
¾ lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
¾ lb oysters with liquor

Preheat oven to 350F.

  1. Melt fat in large dutch oven or straight sided skillet with a lid. Add tasso and sausage and sauté until crisp, about 5-8 minutes.
  2. Add onions, celery and bell peppers (I chop these by hand to get a more even size and better texture). Saute until tender but still firm, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add chicken. Raise heat to medium high or high and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium. Add seasonings and garlic. Cook about 3 minutes, stirring and scraping pan bottom as needed.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook until chicken is tender, about 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add the tomato sauce (if used); cook while stirring often. Stir in the stock and bring to a boil.
  6. Add rice, shrimp and oysters; stir well and remove from heat.
  7. Cover and bake at 350 until rice is tender, about 20-30 minutes.