Brown Rice Chili Casserole

Tuesday, January 10, 2012



The recipe for this casserole is adapted from the original 1973 Recipes for a Small Planet cookbook, and is as warming as it promises to be. I have made this dish about a dozen times and it has been delicious each and every one of them - though sometimes spicier than others. It is especially spicier in the winter when chilies tend to have more of a kick. Though this casserole is great all year round, it really makes for the perfect cold weather meal. (Not that it is all that cold out right now.)

Anyhow, it does take a little bit of time to make and assemble - it's the kind of dish to make on a lazy Sunday to have for the rest of the week. Or if you are a smart dinner planner each of the components of this casserole can be prepared a few days ahead of time, and the casserole can be assemble prior to baking as well. Also... sometimes, like this time, I use jarred tomato sauce instead of making my own just to make things a little easier and to have a little less clean up.

If you like chilies and cheese you should definitely make this dish. I served it alongside a crusty Italian roll and a salad with avocado and local baby greens. Enjoy.






Brown Rice Chili Casserole

Serves 6-8

This casserole recipe is adapted from the original 1973 Recipes for a Small Planet cookbook and is as warming as it promises to be. You can easily substitute jarred tomato sauce for the sauce in this recipe and it will be just as good. Each of the components of this casserole can be prepared a few days ahead of time, and the casserole can be assemble prior to baking as well, depending on your schedule.


2 1/4 cups brown rice, rinsed
10 fresh anahiem or poblano chilies
1 teaspoon canola oil
10 ounces Monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup sesame or soda crackers
Sauce
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small shallot, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup diced tomatoes and their juices
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt
fresh ground pepper


In a large saucepan combine the brown rice and 4 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Stir the rice once, to make sure nothing is sticking on the bottom of the pan, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover with a lid. Let the rice simmer, covered for 50 minutes. (Do not remove the lid.) After 50 minutes, remove the pan (keep covered) from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. The rice can be made a few days ahead of time.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Place the chilies on a baking sheet or roasting pan and coat each chili with the canola oil. Roast for 15 minutes or until the skins of the chilies are separating from the flesh. Rotate the chilies as needed. Place the chilies in a clean paper bag and roll up tightly to allow the chilies to steam. After about 10 minutes remove the chilies from the bag and use your hands and knife to carefully remove each chili’s skin, core and seeds. Work with one chili at a time and set the prepared chilies on a plate. Set aside. This can be done a few days ahead of time.

To make the sauce heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes or until the shallots are soft. Add the minced garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the diced tomatoes and their juices, the dried oregano and a pinch of salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a simmer over low heat. Turn off the heat and set aside. The sauce can be made a few days ahead of time.

To assemble the casserole, oil a 9 by 13 inch dish. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grade approximately 3 ounces of the cheese, and slice the other 7 ounces. Place half of the rice in the casserole dish. Cover with a layer of chilies, then a layer of the sliced cheese, then a layer of chilies. Add the remaining rice on top of the chilies. Pour the tomato sauce evenly over the rice and top with the grated cheese and cracker crumbs. Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes (if everything was at room temperature or warm when assembled) or until the casserole is warm and heated through. Serve warm

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