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Friday, September 9, 2011

Creamy, Cheesy, Garlicky Rice with Spinach m- French Fridays with Dorie

I was looking forward to this because of the "cheesy, garlicky" nature of the recipe. In the process of making it, however, I turned on the recipe. I didn't like the looks of the soppy, porridgey rice, and I didn't think there was enough garlic to make it "garlicky." But then I did another 180 when I tasted it: it was rich and sumptuous, and the soppy-looking rice retained enough bite to make it interesting. Once again, I'm a believer. And once again, the recipe is ridiculously easy.

Quickly cook some spinach in a bit of water. I love how spinach magically disappears into almost nothingness. Then drain it and wait until it's cool enough to pick up bunches of it and squeeze out the water. It makes me feel very Jacques-Pepin-ish to have tough enough hands to squeeze hot water out of spinach. Have you ever noticed how he can practically fry his own hands without even blinking?

Then it's on to sauteeing some onion and garlic. Jim asked me if I always removed the green thing from the garlic. Always when I'm doing Dorie's recipes, I said, because she tells me I must. I guess I'm afraid that she might be looking over people's blogs someday and start taking away badges from people who leave the bitter green germ in the garlic.

Chop up the hot spinach, and add it to the onion-garlic mixture.

Here's where I started thinking the rice was going to be a bomb, and not in a good way.

This rice doesn't even look appetizing. It looks like gruel. And adding in the white cheese and white cream didn't help. Except for the spinach, everything looked white.

I decided I should run it under the broiler to get a crust on it, or add something flavorful, or do something to rescue it. But, being a fanatic about trying the recipe as-is the first time, I did none of those things.

And what do you know, it didn't need to be rescued after all. It was creamy, flavorful, rich, and delicious. We ate it with sliced tomatoes with chopped olives, and that's all we needed for a completely satisfying dinner. Although Dorie says the recipe makes two main-course servings, we ate our fill and still had half left over. It would be a good side dish too, I think, but it might steal the show from whatever it was supposed to be alongside. I personally like it as the star.

I also managed a catch-up recipe this week--the Savory Cheese and Chive Bread. This was a reversal of my reaction to the rice. I expected more flavor (with the sharp cheddar and chives) than the bread actually delivered. I knew I'd be serving it to someone who couldn't eat nuts, so I didn't use them. Next time I would.

I thought I'd been doing a pretty good job of keeping up lately, but when I counted recipes, I saw that I'd made 23 and not made 20. Lots of catching up to do. I wonder if anyone has actually made all the recipes so far.


  1. I'm glad the rice won you over in the end! I'm one of the people who must accept my Dorie-demerit. I never remove the germ from the garlic. (Hangs head in shame).

    If you ever cook a ham, I HIGHLY recommend dicing some up and making the cheese and chive bread again. I did that last winter, and it was AMAZING.

  2. Lovely...the cheesy rice and the cheese and chive bread. I only managed one that is the cheesy rice :)

  3. Both look amazing. So glad you had a change of heart once you tasted the rice! Too bad the bread wasn't a hit, though. :)

  4. I don't know if I love the way the spinach disappears. I'm surprised EVERY TIME. I did enjoy this dish though. Yours looks delicious. Sorry the bread didn't work out for you, though.

  5. Great photos of the cooking process!
    It really was a packed with flavour.
    I can understand how the bread would seem bland after a taste of the rice dish!

  6. The flavors in this rice were certainly a pleasant surprise.
    I wish I had your strength of character to follow a recipe as written :-)

  7. Ei,
    Well, if you're ever missing your Dorie badge, you'll know why!

    I think you can never have too much cheese.

    I actually liked the bread--it just didn't measure up to my expectations, which were probably unreasonably high.

    I know--it's always a surprise, isn't it? Like making meringue. I never think that's going to happen either.


    Definitely not strength of character--more like a lack of inventiveness. I admire the people who just toss in a little of this ... especially when it works.

  8. I'm with you about trying a recipe as written the first time - I don't think it's a lack of inventiveness, but rather an assessment that can lead to future jumping off points.

    I'm not sure if anyone has done every recipe - perhaps we can do a poll for the first anniversary of the group?

  9. Your rice seems to have turned out great and I love your side of tomatoes with olives - great accompaniment. I have to admit that I don't often take out the garlic germ - I've heard its supposed to turn bitter in foods but I've not found that to be the case, so I leave it in.