Thursday, March 11, 2010

I Prefer Bowls to Plates

Other bloggers can attest to the fact that searching for a title can be the most difficult and frustrating part of a post.
I couldn't think of much today that wasn't snarky or lame; I do prefer to eat from a bowl rather than a plate, so there you go.
I think the shape gives the illusion of more volume. This is one of those dishes that can be served in a bowl or on a plate, but it's so comforting that a steaming bowl makes it even better.
It's almost criminally simple. Fragrant brown rice is toasted before cooking a long time in a lot of liquid till soft, with some vegetables and spices. Brown rice can be more chewy than white rice, one reason why some people don't like it. This method allows you to cook it to a softer, moist consistency.
It's great straight from the pan, but two added garnishes take it over the top for me: a few drops of sriracha (hot sauce) and some fried onion strings (sold by Trader Joe's). You don't have to add these, but you really really should. You can add some poached chicken breast to the dish- I did add some to Ray's bowl- or you can serve it as a side dish alongside another protein. A big bowl by itself is a great meal for me, just don't forget to sneak in some protein in another way to help with Battle Protein.
The fried onion strings were a serendipitous impulse buy; they are great in salads too. Two tablespoons equals 40 calories and a small amount adds a lot of flavor and crunch. I used a mixture of low sodium chicken broth and water mixed with another TJ's favorite:
These little packets are wonderful to keep in the cupboard and use on their own or if you are running low on canned broth. I started with 4 cups of broth for the recipe but needed to add more throughout the cooking process, about 6 cups in the end. I recommend having some extra broth handy just in case; that rice really soaks it up.

This is also a good time to introduce you to my favorite stovetop cooking vessel. I mention it often and realize many might know what I'm talking about when I refer to the saucier. It's this guy:

He has a wide bottom like a pan but he's also deep like a pot- the best of both worlds. I use him for everything. As with the best recipes, I made this up on the fly one night, and cannot think of a particularly clever name. So I give you . . .

Vegetable Brown Rice Bowl
serves 4

1 Tbs olive oil
2 carrots, sliced
1 celery rib, peeled and sliced
1/2 large onion, diced
2 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup brown rice, rinsed
6 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup frozen peas
salt and pepper to taste
sriracha (or other hot sauce) and fried onion strings for garnish

Heat the olive oil over medium in a saucier pan or pot. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and herbs and saute 3-5 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.

Add the garlic and saute another minute. Add the brown rice and toast for 5 more minutes.

Add 4 cups of the broth and bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally and simmer until the rice is cooked, adding the rest of the broth as the pan becomes dry.

Add the frozen peas and cook to warm them through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon into bowls and add a few drops of sriracha to each bowl, per the taste of each person. Top with a spoonful of fried onion strings and serve.


1 comment:

Erica said...

You know what....I just may make this tonight! I have everything on hand! Leftover broth, rice, lots of veggies (of course)- fabulous!

Hope you have a FABULOUS night :) :)