At the start of shelter-in-place, I admit I was in a tizzy over all the shortages at grocery stores.
Sure, the scarcity of hand sanitizers and rolls of toilet paper had me a little troubled. But what really got me worked up was the run on all-purpose flour and, yes, rice.
After all, I am Chinese-American. So to me, a pantry without any rice is a very sorry one, indeed.
Fortunately, when I was nearing the last few grains in my cupboard, I managed to find a 25-pound bag of jasmine rice online for a reasonable price. Now, normally, even I, in a household of two, would never buy such a huge bag. But because this was the only one I saw, I grabbed it without a second thought.
Good thing I did, too, because it’s come in so handy. It’s also inspired me to seek out new recipes to enjoy this mother lode of rice, including this one-pot wonder for “Rice with Andouille and Kale.” It’s a recipe by the late-great food writer Molly O’Neill that was published in the New York Times, which she wrote for regularly.
Rice grains store easily, and for a very long time. I almost always have a bunch of dinosaur kale in my fridge and some spicy sausages in the freezer for those same reasons. Kale is so hearty that it will keep just fine in the veggie drawer of the fridge for about two weeks — a plus when you’re trying to limit your trips to the grocery store these days.
This main course couldn’t be easier. In a big pot, just cook the rice (jasmine, in my case) with a saucy blend of tomatoes, onion, garlic and rosemary that was whizzed in a blender until smooth.
Stir in broth, and the kale and sausage, and continue cooking a few more minutes, before letting the pot sit and steam undisturbed for 15 minutes before digging in.
Really, the andouille sausage does all the work here — rendering its oil, as it cooks and imparting the entire contents of the pot with a pronounced smokiness and spiciness. I even managed to develop a slight socarrat on the bottom of the pot, that cherished layer of crispy rice.
O’Neill described this comforting, homey dish as a riff on a basic Mexican-one by the legendary Diana Kennedy. To me, it’s almost like a pared-down jambalaya.
It makes for a fine, fine use of a stash of rice, too.
Rice with Andouille and Kale
(Serves 6 to 8)
1 ½ cups unconverted rice (like Canilla)
1 cup finely chopped fresh or well-drained canned tomatoes
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons minced rosemary
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 ½ cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
3 firmly packed cups stemmed kale, cut into 1/2-inch strips
Soak rice in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain. Rinse with cold water and drain well. Place tomatoes, onion, garlic and rosemary in a blender. Puree until smooth. Set aside.
Heat oil in a medium-large, heavy-bottom pot over medium-high heat. Add rice. Cook, stirring frequently, until rice turns a light golden color, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree. Cook for 8 minutes, frequently scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking.
Stir in broth, salt, sausage and kale. Cook, uncovered, until all the broth has been absorbed and air holes appear on the surface of the rice, about 20 minutes. Turn heat to very low. Cover the pot with a towel. Continue cooking for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning if needed and serve hot.
From Molly O’Neill in the New York Times
Other Irresistible Main Course Rice Dishes: My Mom’s Chicken Rice