Stuck Pot Rice (with a recipe for Stuck Pot Rice with Creamed Kale and a Fried Egg)

Oh, sweet lord. I have already spoken here about this little week-long project I have taken on with Food52.  You see, Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, Food52's founders, have put out a cookbook with the premise that you spend Sunday cooking and then the rest of the week eating.

So that's what we did.  From Stuck Pot Rice with Creamed Kale and a Fried Egg to Lamb Shoulder Chops with Stuck Pot Rice, our dinners this week have been fabulous. See pics above and below.

As one of the Sunday recipes, this Stuck Pot Rice debuts as a side dish to Lamb Blade Chops but then doubles back for at least three days of lunches with the Creamed Kale and a fried egg.  Then, if you still have leftover rice, might I recommend it in a quick stir fry? Or thrown into a pot of soup? (Clearly, I have been thinking of ways to use up turkey from Thanksgiving as well.)

So, stuck pot rice. Let's get down to business.

Many cultures herald the crusty rice stuck to the bottom of the pan. From Korean Dolsot Bibimbap (short grain, not fried, but crispiness brought about by the searing heat of the stone pot) to Persian Tahdig (perfectly caramelized long-grain rice with yogurt and spices), people know how to get behind the pot stuck to the cooking vessel. And for good reason. 

Because it is tasty.

Additionally, it might be inspiring to know that this version, which uses yogurt but no spices, is easy to make. In fact, easy enough to make again if you burn the bottom. Which I did. 

(And by did, I mean I both scorched the bottom and then remade it within the hour. Which was not a big deal because I was still making the Creamed Kale when it became abundantly clear that my first attempt was not anywhere near salvageable. Please see photographic evidence.)

So I have some tips:
  • I bought a small container of whole-milk yogurt for the rice. I just used what was left in the Creamed Kale (instead of crème fraîche).  While that turned out to be great in theory, it did mean I had no whole-milk yogurt left over for my second attempt. So I just used some non-fat yogurt I had around and it was just fine.
  • After the initial toasting, but sure to keep the rice on low. 
  • I love the trick of using the towel as the rice cooks.  Seriously, this is the best way to cook rice.  

Okay, let's talk taste for a moment. I love the toasty crunchiness of this recipe. And while it makes a great side dish to the lamb, it's a perfect star vehicle for the kale and an egg. I was disappointed when I ran out of kale before I ran out rice, because there was something divine about the bitterness of the kale next to the toastiness of the rice. Throw a savory (and runny) egg on top and some Siracha, and it was, quite possibly, the perfect lunch. 

I guess I better get cooking again this Sunday.

Stuck-Pot Rice 

Adapted from Food 52's A New Way to Dinner

Serves 4, for 2 dinners (or just 1/2 it, already)

salt and freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 cups basmati rice
1/3 cup plain, whole-milk yogurt
5 tablespoons oil (I used olive oil, but you could use peanut, grapeseed, or corn)
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the rice and bring back to a boil; lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, then drain, and season with salt and pepper.

2. While the rice is boiling, in a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 3 tablespoons of the oil, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, and whisk until smooth. After draining the rice, add it to the yogurt mixture and fold together until the yogurt mixture lightly coats the rice.

3.  Put the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy pan (a dutch oven or a cast-iron skillet is ideal), and heat over medium-high heat. Carefully swirl the oil so it comes up about an inch of the side of the pot. Add the rice mixture, pressing it down with the back of a wooden spoon.

4. Wrap a kitchen towel around the lid so it completely covers the underside of the lid. Gather the corners up so it doesn't come near the stove's flame. Place the lid on the pot, sealing it tightly.

5.  Turn the heat to low. Cook, undisturbed for about 25-30 minutes. The rice should smell toasted, but not burnt. Turn off the heat and let sit for 5 more minutes.

6. Remove the lid and kitchen towel. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the toasted rice from the sides and base of the pan, breaking it up and stirring it into the rest of the rice Season with salt and pepper. Let cool and store in the fridge for up to a week.

7.  On the day you wish to serve, reheat in a covered dish in a 300 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

Stuck-Pot Rice with Creamed Kale (and Broccoli Rabe) and a Fried Egg 

Adapted from Food 52's A New Way to Dinner

Serves 2

Stuck-Pot Rice
Creamed Kale (and Broccoli Rabe)
2-4 eggs
Pecorino Cheese
salt and ground pepper
Olive oil

1.  Reheat 1/4 of the rice in a covered dish in a 300 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

2.  Warm 1/4 of the creamed kale (and broccoli rabe) with a splash of water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.

3.  Fry 2-4 eggs (1-2 per person).

4.  In a shallow bowl, layer the rice followed by the kale, and then top with fried eggs. Sprinkle with grated Pecorino cheese, salt, freshly ground black pepper, and olive oil.


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