Cazuela de Arroz con Hongos

Cazuela de Arroz con HongosOkay.  I cannot tell a lie.  I borrowed much of this recipe from Pati Jinich’s recipe in the Washington Post.  How can you not be fascinated by the food choices of someone who grew up in Mexico City and whose Jewish grandparents immigrated there from Eastern Europe?

The casserole (does making a casserole sound dated?), which is vegetarian, reheats well,  freezes well and is delicious.  Serve it with a green salad.  Big flavors. Little effort.

Cazuela de Arroz con Hongos or Mushroom and Rice Casserole

  • Servings: 4-6
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Ingredients

  • 3 T butter
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper with the membrane and seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 1 # mushrooms (your choice of type – but if you want to be quick, get ones that are already sliced)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 c cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 c Mexican crema – or heavy cream
  • 1/2 c queso fresca or Jack or Fontina, grated or crumbled
  • 1/2 c queso anejo or Parmigiano or Romano, grated
  • 2 1/2 c cooked rice.

Directions

 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease an 8″x8″ baking dish. Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook and stir until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and jalapeno and cook until soft.  Add the sliced mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and pepper, stir to combine all.  Cook until the mushrooms are soft and dark-ish brown and all their released liquid has evaporated – or almost evaporated.  Stir in the cilantro, the crema, and the queso fresca and cook and stir until the cheese has melted (you want the mixture kind of soupy at this point, so add a little crema, if it’s not).  Spoon the rice into the baking dish and then top the rice with the mushroom mixture.  Spread it to smooth the top.  Sprinkle with the grated cheese and bake for approximately 20 minutes.
This casserole can be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated (covered) and baked later – or tightly covered and frozen.  When using the frozen dish, be sure to let it defrost for an hour or so before putting it into the oven.  I found that my partially-defrosted casserole took about 45 minutes to heat in the oven.  I added the parmesan the last 15 minutes.

Recipe provided by Big Little Meals and Andy and Ann

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