Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Broccoli and Rice "Etuvée"

IMG_10129 by you.

1 tsp peanut or cottonseed oil
3 tbsp chopped onion
1/3 c. short brown rice (1 1/2 oz)
1 c. chicken or beef stock, preferably homemade unsalted and defatted
Salt to taste
Dash red pepper flakes
1 stalk broccoli (3-4 oz)
2 tbsp grated Swiss cheese

1. Heat the oil in a small sturdy saucepan. When it is hot, add the onion and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally until lightly browned

2. Add the rice, stir well, then add the stock, salt and red pepper flakes. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to very low and cook for 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, peel the broccoli stem to remove the fibrous skin. Cut the peeled stem in 1/2-inch pieces and the flowerets into 1-inch pieces

4. When the rice has cooked for 30 minutes (it will still be soupy), place the broccoli on top of the rice (don't stir it in). Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Add the grated cheese, stir and serve immediately.

It's not explained very well in the book, but basically the phrase "etuvée" refers to a method where you cook over low heat, using a small amount of liquid, and with a tightly covered pot. It's also referred to as à l'étouffée, which comes from étouffer or "to smother." All that to say, it's more or less a brown rice pilaf.

Cheats & Changes:
Other than doubling, none. I followed the recipe exactly. However, once doubled, I thought this made closer to 3 portions of rice. We ended up with about 3/4 c. left over.

The Verdict:
Meh. Even after simmering an extra 10 minutes, the rice was very very soupy. And as a result of having to let it cook longer, the broccoli ended up a bit gray and overcooked. It wasn't total mush, but it didn't have as much bite to it as I normally like.

I suspect that the rice-to-liquid ratio is off. For brown rice, I usually use 1 1/2 times as much liquid as rice, but this recipe called for 3x as much liquid. Just for kicks, I did just now weigh out 1/3 c. of my short-grain brown rice and it came out to over 2 1/2 oz., so really I'm just bamboozled by the whole thing. I'd probably make this again, but reduce the amount of broth by at least a third.

Flavor-wise, the dish was just fine. I think the addition of the grated cheese at the end was key - it added a lot of flavor and a little creaminess too. Otherwise, I'm not sure I'd bother to make this again since I usually just cook brown rice in my rice cooker.

T didn't seem to notice or mind the extra liquid and he declared that he enjoyed every item on his plate and would happily eat it again.

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