Rice. The staple of life for many people across the world. It's usually steamed or boiled in its purest form, possibly fried in a wok with some beaten egg or made unctuous by lots of stock, plenty of stirring and grated cheese in my Risotto - all made on a hob or hotplate. Rice cooks brilliantly in the oven too. I know, that's mad. But I promise it's true. Admittedly, you do start the cooking process on the hob but that's a relatively quick process before it goes into the oven to bake and soak up lots of stock. Baked rice is one of the best dishes to use up the last few vegetables in the basket or fridge, making it a lot healthier and better for you than any of those packet reconstituted rice mixes that haunt the supermarket aisles.
Mix it up by adding your favourite veg (i.e. peppers, which you'll never see here) or butternut squash. It's a relatively simple process. 75g of rice per person and double that amount in vegetable or chicken stock.Just make sure the dish you use is suitable to use on both the hob and in the oven, and that it has a lid. My recipe feeds two people as a substantial side dish - I actually added some leftover cooked bacon to turn it into a one pot dinner. You can double, treble or even quadruple the amounts to feed a hungry horde if you like. Just stick to the two parts stock to one part ratio and you won't go wrong.
Baked Vegetable Rice
1 tbsp Oil - olive, rapeseed, whatever you like
1 Onion, finely diced
1 Courgette, finely diced
75g Mushrooms, finely sliced
1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
150g Long Grain Rice
300ml hot Chicken Stock
75g Broccoli, cut into small florets
75g frozen Peas
Preheat your oven to 180c/Gas Mark 4
Heat the oil gently in an casserole dish on a low heat. Add the onion, courgette, mushrooms, salt and pepper and fry gently for 8-10 minutes until the onion is soft.
Add the rice and stock and stir well. Cover the dish and place in the oven for 15 minutes.
Add the broccoli & peas after 15 minutes, give the dish a good stir and return to the oven for 5-6 minutes.
Remove the dish, fluff up the rice with a fork and taste. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and serve with meat or fish.