Baked Rice Casserole (Arroz de Forno Cremoso): The yum-yum rice!

  

OK… I have to confess that I truly struggled to decide which rice recipe to post first here.

“Why? It’s just rice!” someone might say.

Well, the reason is because rice is universal – simple, yet essential to so many people in so many different cultures.  This, in and of itself, makes the task intimidating.  Also, it’s because Brazil has a multitude of wonderful rice recipes, which makes the task even more daunting.

And with that reply, let us return to the reason why I decided upon this recipe specifically: it’s sort of a redemption of the many common versions of Baked Rice Casserole that one encounters floating around in Brazil.  Most call for a mixture of heavy cream and egg yolks as a “sauce.”  Yet, when heated up for several minutes in the oven, the result is… curdled rice.  How sad!

In my reworking of this recipe, I have kept the wonderful taste of the traditional version, but improved the texture by avoiding this culinary mistake.  The result?  You shall see!

Baked Rice Casserole

Yield: Serves 6

Segment: Brazilian cuisine

Ingredients:

1 (8 oz or 250 gr) smoked sausage, small diced

4 slices smoked bacon, chopped

1/2 medium yellow onion, small diced

2 cups long-grain white rice, raw

4 cups chicken stock

1 teaspoon salt

Mornay sauce (recipe follows)

1/3 cup kernel of corn (fresh, frozen or canned)

1/3 cup peas (fresh or frozen)

1/3 cup cubed carrot (fresh or frozen)

4 cups shredded mozzarella, provolone or gruyere cheese

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, or 1 cup shoestring potatoes

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Prepare the mornay sauce according to the recipe below. Reserve.

In a medium sauce pan, over medium heat, brown the sausage along with the bacon in their own fat (about 3 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Add the onion and sauté until translucent (about 2 minutes).  Add the rice and sauté lightly (about 1 minute).  Add the stock and the salt, stir, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir again, cover, and reduce heat to low.  Let cook until tender (12 -15 minutes).

Remove from heat, and mix in the mornay sauce and vegetables.  Place into a 13″ x 9″ greased glass pan, layer 2 cups of the cheese on top. Then, make a second layer of rice and finish with the other 2 cups of cheese.  Cover with a greased sheet of aluminum foil.  Let bake in a preheated oven at 350 F (180º C) for about 25 minutes.

Remove foil and sprinkle the parmesan cheese. Return to the oven, uncovered and let broil until cheese browns, about 3 minutes.  Sprinkle the parsley and serve.

Alternatively, remove foil and sprinkle shoestring potatoes on top instead and then, the parsley. Serve immediately.

For the Mornay Sauce:

Yield: about 3 cups

Ingredients:

4 cups whole milk

4 Tbsp clarified or unsalted butter

4 Tbsp all-purpose flour

2 teaspoon salt

Ground white pepper, to taste

1/2 teaspoon chicken flavor bouillon Knorr

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup shredded gruyere or provolone cheese

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally and taking care not to let it boil.

Meanwhile, in a separate heavy-bottomed stainless steel saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until it becomes frothy.

With a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the melted butter a little bit at a time, until it is fully incorporated into the butter, yielding a pale-yellow-colored paste.  Heat this paste (called roux) for another minute or so, to cook off the taste of raw flour.

Using a wire whisk, slowly add the hot milk to the roux, whisking vigorously to ensure that it is free of lumps.

Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the total volume has reduced by about 20 percent, stirring frequently to make sure the sauce doesn’t scorch at the bottom of the pan.  The resulting sauce should be smooth and velvety.  If it is too thick, whisk in a bit more milk until it is just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Remove the sauce from heat.  For an extra-smooth consistency, carefully pour the sauce through a strainer.  Mix the cheese. Season the sauce with salt, white pepper, bouillon, and nutmeg.  Keep the sauce covered until you are ready to use it.

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Receita em Português:

Arroz de Forno

Rendimento: 6 pessoas

Ingredientes:

250 gramas de linguiça calabresa, picada

4 fatias de bacon, picados

1/2 cebola amarela média, picada

2 xícaras de chá de arroz cru (não parbolizado)

4 xícaras de água

2 cubos de caldo de galinha

1 colhere de chá de sal

Molho Mornay (segue receita)

1/3 xícara de milho verde cru

1/3 xícara de ervilha crua

1/3 xícara cenoura crua descascada, em cubinhos

4 xícaras de mussarela, provolone ou gruyere, em tirinhas

1/4 xícara de queijo parmesão ralado, ou 1 xícara de batata palha

1/2 xícara de salsinha fresca picada

Modo de Preparo:

Em uma panela, em fogo médio, doure a linguiça e o bacon na própria gordura (3 minutos).
Adicione a cebola e frite (2 minutos) e depois junte o arroz (1 minuto). Adicione a água, o caldo de galinha e o sal. Quando levantar fervura, mexa, abaixe o fogo e tampe a panela. Deixe cozinhar de 12 a 15 minutos ou até o arroz ficar macio.

Retire do fogo, adicione o molho mornay e os vegetais, misturando bem. Ponha metade do arroz num pirex untado e cubra com uma camada de queijo (2 xícaras). Repita uma segunda camada com a outra metade do arroz e queijo (2 xícaras). Cubra com uma folha de papel alumínio untada. Leve ao forno pre-áquecido a 180º C por aprozimadamente 25 minutos ou até que o queijo derreta. Remova o papel alumínio, ponha o queijo ralado e leve ao forno alto por mais 3 ou 4 minutos para o queijo dourar. Decore com a salsinha e sirva.

Alternativamente, remova o papel alumínio e espalhe a batata palha no topo. Decore com a salsinha picada e sirva imediatamente.

Para o Molho Mornay:

Rendimento: Aproximadamente 3 xícaras

Ingredientes:

4 xícaras de leite

4 colheres de sopa de manteiga sem sal

4 colheres de sopa de farinha de trigo

2 colheres de chá de sal

Pimenta branca moída a gosto

1/2 colher de chá de caldo de galinha Knorr em pó

1/4 colher de chá de noz-moscada moída

1/2 xícara de queijo provolone ou gruyere em tirinhas

Modo de Preparo:

Amorne o leite (não ferva).

Numa outra panela média, derreta a manteiga em fogo médio e misture a farinha de trigo aos poucos, mexendo bem com uma colher de pau até formar uma mistura pastosa esbranquiçada.

Misture o leite morno aos poucos e vá mexendo bem por mais ou menos 20 minutes até que a mistura engrosse.

Remova do fogo, passe o molho por uma peneira para retirar qualquer pelota.

Misture o sal, a pimenta, o caldo em pó, a noz-moscada e o queijo. Mantenha o molho coberto até a hora de usá-lo.

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5 Responses to Baked Rice Casserole (Arroz de Forno Cremoso): The yum-yum rice!

  1. Marcos Mateus March 30, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

    Me deu água na boca só de olhar pra esse arroz de forno cremoso, deve ser uma maravilha. Vou aperrear o povo aqui em casa pra fazer ele! =)

    • Denise Browning March 30, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

      É uma delícia sim, Mateus! Jared adorou. Eu e Chantal também. Acho que todos vocês ai irão gostar também.

      • clara April 10, 2012 at 7:35 am #

        I’m not ealisy impressed but you’ve done it with that posting.

      • Luisa April 10, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

        You can always tell an eepxrt! Thanks for contributing.

  2. Takka April 10, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    quiapo / This brings back emomries of my mother preparing this.Her recipe is basically the same as yours, except that she added peas. She also arranged the rice in nice little mounds, by pouring some olive oil in a cup and packing the rice. The rice would come out neatly in a mound and she would put a fried egg on top, with the mince meat mixture on the side.

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