This was one of those days when the dog takes up the whole couch. It rains all day and the sky darkens two hours earlier than it’s supposed to. I didn’t want to cook, but made a deal — in return for a cocktail, I would make soup from items in the pantry and fridge that, really, needed to be used anyway. But once the flavors of the mirepoix started to scent the air, it just seemed like a good idea to toss the rice and beans in, toast them a bit with spices, and turn the soup into risotto.
Rice and Sprouted Bean Risotto
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup (50 g) onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup (190 g) arborio rice
1 cup (180 g) dried, sprouted bean mix (like TruRoots Organic 3-bean trio)
1 dried bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon garam masala (optional)
1 cup (240 mL) dry white wine
5 cups (1.25 L) water + more as needed
1 teaspoon stock concentrate (beef or vegetable flavor)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 cups (250 g) (packed) kale, chopped
2 oz. (60 g) grated gruyere cheese + more for garnish
kosher salt and ground pepper to taste
Melt the butter and olive oil in a large dutch oven. Add the onion, celery, carrots, salt, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, garam masala and thyme, and cook over medium-low heat until the vegetables are tender and the onions are just beginning to turn golden brown.
Meanwhile, mix the stock concentrate with the water and maintain just below a simmer in a separate pot.
Add the rice and beans to the pot with the onions and spices and stir, coating everything in the butter, and allowing to toast just slightly. Keep stirring so nothing burns.
When the vegetable/rice mixture is just barely dry and beginning to stick, turn the heat to medium-high and pour in the wine to deglaze the pot. Stir constantly and when the wine is mostly absorbed and the pot is almost dry again, begin to add the stock mixture one cup at a time, stirring frequently. Allow the mixture to absorb most of the liquid before adding more. Once the last of the stock is used, check for doneness and stir in extra water as needed to finish cooking the rice and beans.
Turn the heat to low and stir in the vinegar, soy sauce, kale and cheese; season well with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve warm and with extra shredded gruyere for garnish.
Rabbits eat granola. They carry it in miniature chewing tobacco pouches and when they need a bit of energy, they cram some in their little rabbit jowls and spit granola juice.
Gosh. I had no idea.
That creative vision stems from a question I asked my husband while we were having a quiet, post-holiday afternoon at home, letting the scent of this granola, fresh out of the oven, permeate our clothes. I didn’t know what to write about the granola, so I queried him. The above was my answer.
Now, I don’t know about the rabbits, but I sure can eat some granola. This version is particularly good with Greek yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup. Like most things I cook, this recipe was born out of a moment of inspiration while watching my favorite chef of the moment: Ina Garten. She makes a cinnamon almond granola that was the blueprint for this one but, me being me, I made a few changes. I added a hint of salt to illuminate the other flavors, and swapped the original almonds for pecans and maple syrup instead of honey, making this recipe vegan. Coconut oil stood in for canola, too. The beauty of granola is its versatility, so I welcome you to riff on this recipe in whatever ways appeal to you.
Many thanks to my mother-in-law for the thoughtful gift of pecans. And all the same thanks to my father-in-law for shelling them. Hope there was something good on TV!
Preheat the oven to 325 F° (163 C°) . In a large bowl, mix together the oats, nuts, and one cup of the coconut. Add the oil, the syrup, and stir until all the ingredients are well coated. Add the cinnamon and salt and stir again to distribute.
Pour mixture into an un-greased half-sheet pan and spread into the corners so everything is level and will bake evenly.
Bake for 20 minutes; remove from oven and stir. Bake for another 15 minutes and stir again. Add the cherries and remaining cup of coconut. Bake in 5-10 minute intervals, stirring in-between, until the granola has turned slightly golden brown. At this point it’s up to you to determine how brown and crunchy you want it — I like mine on the lighter side so took it out after about 45 minutes. Let the granola cool completely before storing. I think it would last a while in an airtight container, but my batches have never stuck around long enough for me to test the theory. Don’t forget to leave some out for the rabbits.