happy whatever you celebrate!

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Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time. – Laura Ingalls Wilder

I hope happiness, cookies, family, & wine find you this holiday weekend. :)

A short post today because pilates and cooking are calling, but here’s the vegetarian dish I’m bringing to my family’s Christmas dinner. I’m the sole vegetarian (even with my extended family present!), but this dish is so rich and warm and festive that all will love it!

Last year, Beecher’s cheese (a locally-based cheese company), gave me some cheese and their homemade entrees that feature their cheese. The brown rice and kale gratin was by far my favorite, so I scoured the internet for ideas and endeavored to create my own. This is the result, and it’s so delicious that I’m so excited that I get to eat this instead of roast beef!

How are you spending your holiday? And what’s your favorite dish to bring?

lots of love, cheer, and cider, xoxo,

molly

Brown Rice & Kale Gratin

Serves 6 as a main dish, 10 as a side

1 large shallot
6 tbsp butter, divided in two
2 cups short grain brown rice
6 cups of whole milk (to make it a little lighter,  you could use half whole/ half 2%)
1 large bunch lacinato 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

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!

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