As part of my culinary goals, I am revisiting my culinary heritage by re-creating and re-imagining my family recipes. This post is about one of those delicious creations!
I chose “Rice Jamboree” from my paternal grandmother’s recipe box because it looked like a nice comfort meal, and I was hopeful it would lend itself nicely to leftovers (it does). This is not a meal we ate growing up, and it’s not one that my father really remembers, either. But there are some vague similarities to other childhood meals, so I was certain I would like this (I did).
Of course, like most recipes, I used Grandma’s recipe as general guide instead of strict instructions. However, I also wanted to keep to the original as much as possible. This means that my idea of using ground sausage instead of beef (or mixing half/half) was dismissed for my first attempt. And whilst I added corn, I didn’t add red pepper or carrots or celery or any of the other vegetables I considered. Also, I didn’t have cereal for the topping, so I used cheese instead.
After a rather successful first attempt, I have decided that I will add this to my “stodgy” meal collection, but with some changes to the spice pallet. First, I think I will trade the peas for red pepper (and will keep the corn). Next, I will try for a range of spices next time. Maybe some cumin and/or chili powder – something akin to taco seasoning, but not quite full-on tacos. Other ideas I had include adding some black beans or using brown rice.
The recipe notes that it makes 8 servings. I imagine that is based on having a plate filled with salad and other vegetables, which I didn’t do for my first serving. (I was quite greedy on the first round!) In the end, I had 4 servings remaining to put into the freezer. However, I think that I could comfortably get 6 servings if I serve this with some healthy side dishes.
The recipe is below for anyone who wants to try it out. And if you make your own edits to the recipe, I would love to hear out it turned out!
Note: My changes are in parentheses.
1 cup chopped onion (red onion)
(Addition: 4 cloves diced garlic)
2 tablespoons shortening (olive oil)
1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon salt (omit)
¼ teaspoon pepper (fresh ground)
1 cup canned peas (½ cup frozen peas; ½ cup frozen corn)
¼ cup liquid drained from peas (¼ cup tap water)
2½ cups / 1 #2 can of tomatoes
½ cup uncooked rice
1½ teaspoons melted butter, or more (omit)
2 cups oven-popped rice cereal (omit)
(Addition: ½ cup strong cheddar cheese, grated)
- Cook the onions (and garlic) in heated shortening (olive oil) until lightly brown. Add the beef and seasoning and continue cooking until the beef is brown. Add peas (and corn) and liquid, tomatoes, and rice to the meat mixture, stirring lightly.
- Place in a greased two-quart casserole and cover. Bake in a moderate oven (375 degrees) for about 45 minutes. (Note: I prepared everything in a ceramic casserole on the stove, then placed in the oven.)
- Remove the cover and sprinkle the top with finely crushed rice cereal, mixed with butter. (Note: At this point, I added the shredded cheese for a toping.) Return to the oven uncovered and bake for 15 minutes.
- Serves 8