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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Brown Rice Pizza with Creamy Hearts of Palm Topping

Quite often my goal in the kitchen is to cook using only ingredients currently available in the house; not only to save money but it forces creativity in the kitchen.

This day was a real challenge since fresh ingredients were scarce. And oddly, Dave was craving pizza, again. To top it off, a few members of my family have recently found out they have a gluten allergy so I want to do my part to help create recipes they can use.
Before you delve into this recipe, do note that I'm using the term 'pizza' quite loosely here. It's not a real dough being created but there is a starch layer and a topping layer. If this was dropped and all the ingredients got mixed up it could be considered a brown rice casserole. Either way, it's a nice, fat and happy change up to boring dinners.

Tips and Techniques:  You could easily change up the toppings on this, use whatever you have in in your pantry. The lentils are optional, I like the added protein.

Brown Rice Pizza with Creamy Hearts of Palm Topping

Rice Crust

1/2 cup red onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup brown rice
1/2 cup red lentils
1 egg
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Pizza toppings
1/2 cup hearts of palm, sliced

1/2 pickled or roasted beets, diced

2 Tbls parsley
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

2-3 Tbls toasted slivered almonds

Cook the brown rice and lentils according to direction. Saute the onions and garlic in drizzle of olive oil until softened and place in a food processor with the cooked brown rice and lentils.

Pulse and process a few times to blend the ingredients. Add in the egg, parsley, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and the salt and pepper. Pulse again until everything is blended.

Spread into a cast iron skillet and bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the rice mixture seems set. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese on top and put back in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the cheese becomes golden brown.

While the rice crust is cooking, make the creamy white sauce (below) and cut up the topping ingredients.

Remove from oven and spread the creamy sauce on top of the rice crust; and then add all the remaining ingredients. Bake about 15 minutes until everything is heated through. Slice and serve.

Creamy White Sauce

1/4 cup finely diced red onion
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 Tbls butter
1/4 cup cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbls fresh thyme, chopped

Saute the onions in butter until softened, add the minced garlic cook for another minute or two. Pour in the cream, add the fresh thyme and salt and pepper. Simmer on low until the cream thickens.
Ultimately you will only need a few tablespoons of sauce.

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