Among the most popular recipes you can find here on C&T is Baked Rice. Yes, it’s already up and has been up for quite some time now. The feedback has been so good – you cannot imagine how pleased I am at how it turned out. Although the photos on that post are decent, I still have a few more I want to show you just because they turned out better.
This time you have a kind of step-by-step photographic guide on the process, which can take some more of your time than you would like. It is worth the effort though. You get a huge dish out of it meaning you can feed many friends, especially if you serve a salad and/or soup with it. Now is the time to preheat your ovens since it’s still cold-ish on the rock.
The recipe stayed the same – if it ain’t broken don’t fix it, or so I’ve learnt – but I have included it right here for the sake of completeness. You know me – fancy and yours truly just don’t go together. Luckily for me Maltese cooking thrives on rustic, as does Mediterranean cooking in general.
For the sauce:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil and a knob of butter if you like
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed or chopped finely
- 3 medium onions, diced
- 500g lean minced beef
- 4 rashers back bacon
- 2 teaspoons mixed spice
- ¼ teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons saffron, infused in some stock (optional – you will only need the liquid)
- 580g polpa di pomodoro (I use two 390g cartons/tins)
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- pinch of nutmeg
- salt and pepper, around 1 teaspoon of each
- splash of Worchestershire sauce
For the rice:
- 3 cups/24oz rice (I mix white and brown together but suit yourself)
- 6 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock depending on personal preference)
For binding it all together:
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
For the topping:
- a fair amount of grated cheese
Place a heavy-based saucepan on the heat. When the pan is really hot, tip in the oil and butter, together with the garlic, onion, minced beef, bacon, all the spices, except the nutmeg, and the saffron-infused water. Cook for around 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the polpa di pomodoro, bay leaf, sugar, nutmeg, salt and pepper. You may also add a few drops of Worcestershire sauce if you like. Leave it to simmer to let it reduce. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4 before you move on to assembling the dish.
Mix the rice with the stock, the sauce and the eggs. Place everything in a large dish and bake for around 40 minutes.
Add the grated cheese on the top to cover the rice and return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes till the cheese turns golden.
You will easily feed 6-8 people with these quantities. If you are feeding a bigger crowd, all you need to do is to make one or two more baking dishes. And good luck!