February 22, 2011

Rice: From the Paddies to the Table

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Margaret's Morsels | Mushroom Rice Casserole

For a long time, I only had four rice recipes:  plain white rice, Spanish Rice, Broccoli Rice Casserole and Wild Rice and Mushrooms.  That number grew to five when I found the recipe for Mushroom Rice Casserole.

Rice is a quick and easy dish to prepare.  The only ingredients you need are rice, liquid and seasoning.  The additional ingredients that can be added to rice are limitless.  The most important thing to remember is to use the right type of rice for the dish you're preparing.  Rice is classified by size and each variety is best suited for certain dishes.

Long grain rice is long and slender.  When cooked, it's tender and the grains separate easily.  It's best for main dishes, soups, salads or plain white rice.

Medium grain rice is shorter and plumper.  It's chewier and sticks together more than long grain.  It's good in desserts.

Short grain rice is round and fat.  When cooked, the grains stick together. The Italian short grain rice, Arborio, is used to make risotto.

Brown rice has the hull removed.  It's slightly chewy with a nut like flavor. It takes longer to cook than regular rice.

Wild rice isn't even rice, but an aquatic North American grass with edible grains related to rice.  It's more expensive and is often combined with regular rice when cooked.

Instant rice has already been cooked and dehydrated.  It only takes a few minutes to prepare, but the flavor is bland.

Converted or parboiled rice, such as Uncle Ben's, has been soaked, pressure steamed and dried.  It takes a little longer to cook than regular rice.

The recipe for Mushroom Rice Casserole uses long grain rice and five other ingredients:  butter or margarine, mushrooms, onion, cream of mushroom soup and beef consomme.  Unlike a lot of recipes, the rice doesn't have to be cooked ahead of time.  It's sauteed with the mushrooms and onion, but only long enough for the rice to soften.  All the ingredients are mixed together, put in a casserole dish and baked for an hour.

I always use margarine and 98% fat-free soup.  You can use regular soup if you prefer, but I don't recommend using butter to saute the ingredients. Butter burns easier than margarine, unless you use clarified butter.

Clarified butter is butter that's been melted at a low temperature.  The fat rises and the milk solids sink.  The clear liquid left in the middle is clarified butter.  It has a higher smoking point which makes it better for sauteing food at a high temperature.

I love to serve Mushroom Rice Casserole with Marinated Baked Chicken. Not only do the dishes complement each other, they can be baked at the same temperature and for the same length of time.  The casserole is also good with Baked Salmon Patties.  If you want to serve it with the salmon patties, put the rice in to cook 15 minutes before the salmon.

Margaret's Morsels | Mushroom Rice Casserole
Marinated Baked Chicken, Mushroom Rice Casserole

Many times when I've taken this dish to a potluck dinner, people have mistakingly called it Dirty Rice.  It may look similar, but Dirty Rice has meat in it, usually ground chicken or turkey livers and gizzards.  Regardless of what people call the casserole, I always come home with an empty dish!

Mushroom Rice Casserole
6 Servings

5 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 (8 oz.) can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup long grain rice (uncooked)
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup (undiluted)
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can beef consomme

Heat butter or margarine in a large skillet over high heat.  Saute the mushrooms and onion for 3 minutes.  Stir in the rice; saute for 3 more minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove skillet from heat.  Add the soup and consomme; mix well.  Pour the mixture into a greased casserole dish. Cover with foil.  Bake at 350° for 60 minutes.

© Margaret's Morsels


  1. I make this too, but I do use butter and use two cans of consumme and then add two cans of drained mushrooms. It is always a hit!

  2. We love mushrooms. I'll have to try the recipe and add another can of mushrooms. Thanks for the suggestion!