I’ve been squirreling around my pantry (ever so grateful) finding myself surprised by what I’ve tucked away and forgotten.
Gosh there is a truly eclectic assortment of pastas, just about every type of rice, half a jar of Nutella that I finished off with a spoon this morning, and (admittedly) a few boxes of brownie mix because I really love a boxed brownie.
I’ve been surprised by what I can pull together from the pantry. With a broth, anything can be a soup. With enough olive oil and parmesan, any shape of pasta is fine and good. We’re feeling grateful for what we have, ya know?
The invitation today is a spiced and baked rice dish with any sort of meat (or not meat) and fruit, with a crunchy nut and a zesty green onion or torn cilantro. Those are the parts: meat and fruit or two, rice, spices, nuts, and greens. It’s a variation on the utterly brilliant Pork and Plum Rice Dish though neither pork or plum was tucked away anywhere in my house. In their absence, andouille from the freezer and canned pineapple from the pantry make brilliant substitutes.
Here’s what you’ll want for this cozy rice dish:
• long grain rice – basmati is nice but if you don’t have it on hand any long grain white rice situation will do ya.
• andouille sausage, a plantain, and canned pineapple. If you don’t have any of these on hand – do a little digging and see what sweet and salty / meat and fruit combinations you can come up with.
• peanuts or any crunchy nut you like.
• whole spices like fennel seeds, cumin seeds, sesame seeds, cloves, peppercorns, a cinnamon stick – let’s go nuts and show off all the spices we have in our cupboard.
We’ll start by rinsing the rice and adding a load of spices to the pot. Add water and steam the rice to plump and fragrant. The spices really add so much depth to the rice, you’ll be spicing up every pot of rice from here on out.
While the rice cooks roast sliced plantain and andouille with fennel seeds and smashed garlic. It’s a wild combination of flavors but absolutely earthy and delicious.
Add the spiced rice to the roasty items. Top with pineapple and peanuts and heck… throw on some toasted sesame seeds too.
Toss and and set under the broiler until lots of bits sizzle. It’s pleasing all around.
Just before serving toss in chopped scallions and/or cilantro. Anything fresh and green will brighten the whole game – as will a lime wedge if you can spare it.
This bowl is best eaten, and I can not express this enough, on the couch binge watching whatever it is you’re binge watching right now. This is comfort food designed to be enjoyed with other comforts. Please do.
My love to you!
Photos with Jon Melendez.