Monday, 11 February 2008
Fish, Vegetable and Rice Casserole
I've often wondered what exactly constitutes a casserole. I was led to believe that a casserole was a meal that was fully cooked in an oven - that is with no precooking allowed. I've learnt over the years though, that a casserole is actually the name for the 'container' used to cook AND serve it in. It is also a most versatile dish - both as in dish the meal and dish the container (Ha Ha!)
You can make a casserole by pre-cooking some ingredients and then finish it off by baking or mix up all the raw ingredients and then cook it in the oven. So, really, anything and everything that is cooked and served in a casserole dish, qualifies as a casserole! I bet I've only served to confuse you more....
But hey, to paraphrase Shakespeare, "That which we call a casserole, by any other name would taste just as delicious!"
My first exposure to casserole was this fantastic Macaroni Tuna Pasta that my mother used to make. We all thought it was a pasta dish but Mom called it a Tuna Casserole. And that was when I first learnt of such a word.
I've learnt to make Mom's Tuna Casserole (I like to think I've improved on it!) and I'll probably post about it another time. This post though is about a Fish and Rice Casserole that I tried out for the very first time recently.
Often, I find that I need to come up with a new recipe simply because the kids are hungry and the fridge is not quite as well stocked as we thought it was. That was basically what happened recently!
I had some frozen Dory Fish and some carrots and broccoli. There was also some tomato and half a block of cheddar. So, I decided to throw them all together and make a Fish and Rice Casserole.
As usual, no real recipe but more of a guideline. That's how I like it as I think the best food is when you experiment and play around with the ingredients.
2 cups rice - washed
3 cups water - for cooking the rice
1 large onion - sliced
4 cloves garlic = chopped
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp sage
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
800g Dory Fish - cubed
1 small head of broccoli - cut into small florets
2 medium carrots - diced
2 large tomatoes - thinly sliced
200g Cheddar cheese - grated
Cook the rice in a rice cooker or in a pot over the stove.
Sautee the onions and garlic together with the Oregano, sage, rosemary leaves and Black Pepper. Add in the cubed Dory and season with some salt. Mix well and allow to simmer until Dory is cooked. Add in the carrots and simmer till carrots are soft then add in the broccoli. Mix well. Season with more salt and pepper as required.
Add the rice into the pan and mix well. Spoon into a rectangular casserole dish and press down, smoothening the top. Cover rice with half of the cheese and then cover with the sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle remaining cheese over tomatoes and bake in a preheated 190C oven for about 20 mins or till cheese is melted and tomatoes are slightly wrinkled.
The kids really enjoyed this dish (the food and not the container -Ha Ha!) and the Lovely Wife kept asking what I had done to make it so tasty. I think the secret is simply that the flavours from the vegetables and fish all meld together so nicely and it soaks into the rice as well.