Golden Rice Pie with Spinach Filling
Adapted from Vegetable Heaven
Preparation time: 2 hours (35 minutes of work)
Yield: 8 or more servings
If you love rice dishes with a
distinct flair, try this one. Brown basmati rice is blended with a
tart, lemony custard, layered with boldly seasoned spinach, and
baked until golden brown. Pine nuts and pomegranate seeds are
sprinkled on top just before serving, for an exotic finishing
touch. This is a great choice for potluck dinners—it travels
well and feeds a crowd.
- To streamline preparation time,
cook the onions and rice at the same time.
- You will thank yourself for
grating the lemon zest before juicing the lemon.
3 cups uncooked brown basmati rice
4 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups minced onion
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1 pound spinach, cleaned, stemmed, and
2 cups lowfat yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Butter for the baking dish
Lightly toasted pine nuts for garnish
Pomegranate seeds (optional)
- Place the rice and water in a saucepan with a tight-fitting
lid, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook
over very low heat until tender (about 40 minutes). Fluff with a
fork to let steam escape, and set aside to cool a little.
- While the rice is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large, deep
skillet. When it is very hot, add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt,
and turn the heat to medium-low. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes,
then cover and let it cook for another 30 minutes.
- After the onion has cooked for 30 minutes, stir in the garlic
and spices, and cook for about 5 minutes longer. Turn the heat way
up and add the spinach and another 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir-fry for
just a few minutes, or until all the liquid has evaporated. Remove
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Generously butter a 2-quart
lidded casserole or ovenproof skillet, about 10 inches in diameter
and 2 to 3 inches deep.
- Place the yogurt, egg, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a large
bowl and sprinkle in 1 teaspoon salt and the white pepper. Beat
well, the add the rice and mix thoroughly.
- Press half the rice into the buttered casserole. Lift the
spinach mixture from the skillet with a slotted spoon and spread it
over the rice. Cover the spinach filling with the remaining rice,
smoothing it firmly into place.
- If the baking dish has a tight-fitting lid, butter the lid
before covering the rice. If the lid fits loosely, line it with a
piece of foil before putting it in place. Bake, covered, for 45
minutes in the center rack of the oven, then for another 10 minutes
on the bottom shelf. Remove the pan from the oven, and let it sit
for about 10 minutes, then invert it onto a platter. It will have a
beautiful golden crust.
- Serve hot or warm, cut into wedges, and sprinkled with toasted
pine nuts and a few pomegranate seeds, if available.