Pinon Rice Bake with Artichokes and Goat Cheese

Pinon Rice Bake with Artichokes and Goat Cheese
Brown rice with artichokes, roasted corn, chiles, pine nuts and goat cheese.

Here's a favorite make-ahead rice dish recipe with Mediterranean flavors- artichokes, plum tomatoes, pine nuts and goat cheese. Entertaining made simple. And there are never any leftovers.

Having someone new over for dinner always sends me into a flurry of activity fueled by nervous energy and worry. I obsess over obscure details (like an iTune playlist), change my mind about the menu (wait- enchiladas or lasagna?), forget ingredients (dagnabbit! the green beans are still in the car). So I've learned (yes, the hard way) to always make a few key dishes ahead of time. Then dinner is basically done.

And I'm not stuck in the kitchen spilling olive oil on a new silk shirt.

I can relax (well, sort of). And- goddess willing- I won't set the oven on fire because I'm too busy discussing politics or the yummy Anderson Cooper.


Pinon Rice Bake Recipe with Artichokes, Plum Tomatoes, Pine nuts and Goat Cheese

This flavorful rice bake pairs well with Alex's Favorite Baked Chicken Mediterranean with Peppers. Easy, easy. And most importantly, delicious.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups cooked long grain brown rice- I cook mine with saffron
1/2 cup toasted pinon nuts aka pine nuts
3 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped
12 halved artichoke hearts- I used Trader Joe's frozen, thawed
4 oz. chopped roasted green chiles or chopped jalapeños
1 cup roasted corn kernels
3 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
Seasoning, to taste (I used cumin, Old Bay Seasoning, sea salt and ground pepper)
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed (about 4-5 tablespoons)
4 oz. goat cheese or sheep feta, cubed

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly oil a medium sized casserole dish (preferably, one with a cover).

In a large bowl, combine the cooked brown rice with the roasted corn, pinon, tomatoes, artichokes, green chiles, chopped garlic, and choice of seasoning.

Drizzle with enough olive oil to moisten and lightly toss with a wooden spoon.

Add in the cubes of feta or crumbles of goat cheese and stir gently, just enough to distribute. Spoon the rice mixture into the prepared casserole dish.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes or so, until the rice is thoroughly heated.

Serves 4 to 6, depending. On what, you ask? On what else you serve with it, and how big appetites are.


Karina's Notes:



This rice bake is perfect for vegetarians- add a crisp green salad with a side of Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and some lightly cooked carrots.

You can make this dish ahead of time. Keep it covered and chilled in the fridge until baking, and add 15 minutes or so to the baking time.

Trader Joe's sells frozen roasted corn, but if you'd like to make your own, simply grill fresh ears of corn (with the wet husk on) until tender and charred. Or scatter corn kernels on a baking sheet and roast them in a hot oven till slightly charred.


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