Friday, 21 November 2014

Going Back to My Roots

Riso al Forno con Barbabietola Rossa, Carote e Fagiolini "Mung" Gialle
Baked Pilau Rice with Beetroot, Carrot & Yellow Mung Beans


Does this look extravagant? Exotic? Complicated to make? Cool! Because it is none of those things... whilst at the same time being totally delicious and beautiful at the same time!

Made from the humblest of ingredients, with just a couple of simple herbs, this was assembled and popped into the oven in just 10-15 minutes and was finished baking around 40 minutes later... in which time I was able to put my feet up and relax and start enjoying my weekend!


A couple of carrots, a few little beetroots, a handful of beans and a handful of rice... and just look what they turned into when they got introduced to each other in my oven! A most wonderful Autumn meal that is healthy, satisfying and light and yet warming, flavorful and all of that for so little money- you just have to love it!


To make 2 servings I needed only 2 small carrots, 2 Spring onions, 4 small beetroots, a little fresh rosemary and thyme, 1 handful of yellow mung beans and 1 handful of Basmati rice... and just to irritate my Vegetarian friends out there, some chicken broth to cook everything together in- haha! 

You can obviously use a vegetable broth... or even a beef broth for that matter- it is all up to you! I am telling you about my supper, people... but if you could see the smile on my face, you would go with the chicken broth too- it made this mighty yummy to say the least!


All kidding- and all chicken broth asides, this is a wonderful meat-free meal that is satisfying enough to leave you feeling full, whilst not being heavy, hard to digest or being one of those meals that leave you feeling hungry again after half an hour... nope- this is a good one! And pretty enough to maybe even get those reluctant kiddies to eat some vegetables!


The only preparation you need to do is to peel those carrots and beets and to cut them, as well as the Spring onions, into the thinnest slices you can manage. You can use some kitchen gadget or other if you should have one... but I don't- so I didn't- haha! It's amazing what you can can do with a simple knife!


Next, turn on your oven to get it nice and hot in advance and boil up your chicken stock- I needed 5-6 cupfuls to make this amount.

Whilst they are warming up, start arranging the beetroot slices into your baking dish or tin- or in my case a small, shallow metal saucepan. Sprinkle the beetroot with rosemary, sliced onion and thyme.


Working from the outside-in, do the same with the carrot slices- but don't fuss over them! As you can see, I just heaped them in and spread them around- it all works out just fine! Once you have filled in all of your slices, budge the carrots and beets up against the edges to make way for the rice and drop that in the middle, then sprinkle the yellow mung beans around the outside of the rice...


...until it looks like this! Add any remaining onion slices or herbs and then take that chicken broth off the stove and gently pour it evenly over everything.


Add just enough to cover the rice, then cover with foil and pop into the oven for 30 minutes at 180°C.


After a half hour or so, most of the broth will have been absorbed, the vegetables will be cooked and the rice and mung beans will have doubled in size. Sprinkle with pepper and drizzle with olive oil before returning to the oven for a further 5 minutes, for any remaining broth or moisture to be absorbed or to evaporate and for the top layer of vegetables and rice to become slightly crispy and brown.


And there you have it- a very simple but surprisingly tasty meal that practically makes itself for you after a little initial chopping and coaxing into shape- and so worth the trouble!


Make a little go a long way and transform something simple into something special... that's the way I do things in MY kitchen... hopefully you will in yours soon too!

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