Beecher's Smoky Kalette/Kale, and Brown Rice Gratin
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup brown rice
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large TSFF Candy onion, cut in half then into thin slices
4 cloves TSFF German Hardneck Garlic, minced at least 10 minutes prior
4 cups packed *trimmed and chopped TSFF Kalettes (or Kale, stemmed and chopped; currently you may be able to get Joe's kale at one of "Our Own" markets)
salt and pepper
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons gluten-free or all-purpose flour (I used brown rice flour)
1-1/2 cups milk (You may use 2%, but I use whole milk)
3/4 cup shredded fontina cheese, divided
3/4 cup shredded smoked gouda cheese, divided (Lyn isn't into smoked, so we use sharp cheddar; Ed's, see below, works great)
* I am actually making this recipe as Lyn is editing and want to suggest that you split the kalettes up the middle, and use a sharp, pointed paring knife to remove a lot of the inner core, prior to chopping, much the same process as "stemming" older kale.
Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a small saucepan, then add the rice. Cover, turn the heat down to low, and simmer until the rice is tender, 35-40 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside with the lid on for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat, when shimmering add the onions and a dash of salt. Stir to coat, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown and very tender, 25-30 minutes. Add the garlic and Kalettes (or kale), season with salt and pepper, and cook until greens are tender, 5-10 minutes. Scoop mixture into a large bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet melt the butter and sprinkle in the flour; whisk to incorporate. Cook for 30 seconds then slowly pour in the milk while whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Season with salt and pepper, turn heat up slightly to bring to a bubble; once boiling turn the heat back down to medium and cook until thickened and bubbly, stirring often, 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually stir in 1/2 cup of each cheese until melted and smooth.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees; spray a 9x12" or 8x8" baking dish very well with nonstick spray or grease well with a butter wrapper. Add cooked rice and cheese sauce to kalette/kale mixture in the bowl, and mix to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until dark golden brown on top. Let sit for 10-15 minutes (or longer) before serving.
Notes from making this recipe last night:
First off, you could certainly put in up to twice as much of whatever green you are using, kalettes or kale, or really almost any other cooking green, like spinach or chard; sounds like a lot but it really cooks down.
In step two I pushed the onions to the edges and sauteed the garlic in the center in a good bit of olive oil, for only a minute or so, till aromatic and slightly browned. As it gets quite sticky I then added a big splash of white wine, actually dry vermouth, and stirred it to loosen everything, after which I added the chopped kalettes.
When the greens are done you can put them on top of the rice as both go into the pot at the same time, after making the cheese sauce, thus avoiding messing up another container.
While I liked it as a side at dinner, it was fantastic fried in the morning to have with bacon and eggs.