If you’re looking for a delicious, healthy kale recipe that my friend Stephanie made to rave reviews, go here. If you’re looking for a delicious, indulgent recipe that happens to feature kale as an ingredient, keep reading.
Months ago, Seattle-based Beecher’s Cheese gave me vegetarian dishes to review. It was a glorious day of free cheesy goodness. My favorite dish was their Brown Rice & Kale Gratin, which beat the risotto and the hominy by leaps & bounds.
Kale & Brown Rice Gratin doesn’t exactly sound like the most exciting dish, but when you add Beecher’s flagship to a gratin, it’s instantly transformed from ordinary to indulgent. Because this dish is fairly rich, I think it works better as a side dish rather than a main. [Don’t be swayed by the fact that the dish has whole grains & vegetables!]
You could easily purchase the gratin from Pasta & Co. or the like & whack it in the oven, but maybe you’re like me, and you enjoy cooking your own food. It tends to be healthier, & it’s cheaper 99% of the time. (Plus, the dish costs $25. Pricey, I know. I was lucky to get it fo free.)
A few tips before we begin. Chop the kale very finely. This is a good time to get out your nice knife. Those who know brown rice well know it takes much longer than white rice to cook; plan accordingly.
And did I mention that it’s absolutely delicious? Like the best gratin you’ve ever had? Go make it. And feel free to bring me some at work. xo, m
Brown Rice Kale Gratin
Recipe adapted from Kathryn T.
1 large shallot
6 tbsp butter, divided in two
2 cups short grain brown rice
6 cups of whole milk
1 large bunch kale, enough to make 2 cups when finely, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon stock concentrate (I use vegetable to keep this dish vegetarian)
6-8 ounces of extremely sharp cheddar-style cheese; I’ve used Beecher’s Flagship, but you could experiment
1/2 cup of bread crumbs (I use Panko. You could also make your own using a loaf of stale bread.)
Melt half the butter in a large frying pan or wide saute pan. I suppose you could use a 4.5 quart or larger saucepan too. Dice the shallot finely, and saute in the butter until it is starting to brown. Add the rice and cook for a couple of minutes over high heat, then add the milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the rice is no longer aggressively chewy. Add the nutmeg, cayenne, mustard, and stock concentrate, and return to a simmer.
Chop the kale extremely finely, almost as though it were an herb rather than a vegetable. Stir the chopped kale into the rice mixture and cook, stirring occasionally for several minutes. At this point, the mixture should have absorbed enough liquid that you could scoop it with a slotted spoon without leaving too much liquid behind. Scrape it into an 11×17″ baking dish.
Grate the cheese and top the gratin with it. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top of the cheese; melt the rest of the butter, and drizzle it on top of the bread crumbs. Bake in a hot oven (350 to 375) until the cheese is bubbly and the bread crumbs are browned, about 40 minutes or so. Serve and eat. Yummmmm!