A sturdy standby, rice can be flavoured in myriad ways. Brown rice, with its toasty taste and healthy fibre, is delicious with added wild mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and tasty cheese, and a little goes a long way.
1/3 cup dried porcini mushrooms
2 1/2 cups hot water
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes (not oil-packed)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup brown rice
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
pepper to taste
1/3 cup grated 25% reduced-fat tasty Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
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Place the porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and pour 1 1/2 cups hot water over them. Place the sundried tomatoes in another small bowl and pour the remaining 1 cup hot water over them. Let both stand until softened, about 20 minutes.
Scoop the mushrooms out of the soaking liquid and finely chop them. Strain the soaking liquid through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl. Strain the sundried tomato soaking liquid into the same bowl and set aside. Coarsely chop the tomatoes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Heat the olive oil and 3 tablespoons of the mushroom-tomato soaking liquid in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook until the onion is golden, about 7 minutes.
Add the rice, stirring to coat. Add the mushrooms, tomatoes, remaining soaking liquid, sage and pepper to the pan and bring to the boil. Transfer the rice mixture to a 20 cm square glass baking dish. Cover with foil, transfer to the oven, and bake until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, about 40 minutes. Sprinkle the hot rice with the Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses and serve.
Sundried tomatoes are fat- and cholesterol-free (as long as they are not oil-packed). The dried tomatoes supply the same amount of lycopene (which has been linked to reducing the risk of prostate cancer) found in one large roma tomato.