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Tuesday 15 October 2013

More-ish Mushroom & Rice (BBC GoodFood 'One Pot' Recipe)

One of the things my girlfriend and I are trying to do as much as possible at the weekends is properly cooking our meals rather than relying on takeaways, restaurants and ready meals. The trick is that I'm a carnivore and she's vegetarian, so it has to be something that can have meat thrown in at the end, or something with enough flavour that I can live without meat. To make things easier, we both have a selection of recipe books - some veggie, some not - so there are plenty of existing recipes we can try before getting all experimental.

This recipe comes from BBC/GoodFood's '101 More One-Pot Dishes', which is why I'm linking to that rather than doing my usual list of ingredients, then all the details of how it was made. Instead, I'll just deal with a few brief bits, then end on a nice, large photo.

Making this from scratch was probably the first time I've had any significant exposure to the concept of using fresh herbs rather than dried and, while I could certainly taste the difference, the fact that fresh herbs start wilting within a couple of days of purchase means I'm unlikely to start buying them regularly. I did have a small herb basket hanging outside my kitchen window, but haven't replanted since the first crop died, unharvested, and it's now overgrown with weeds. It's also worth noting that I'm not a fan of tinned tomatoes of any kind, so it was pretty strange - I won't glorify my neuroses by using a word like 'daring' - for me to try this recipe.

The end result is very sticky rice which has absorbed plenty of flavour from the veg while leaving the peppers, onion and mushrooms with enough texture that you don't feel like you're eating a very thick rice-based soup. I'm not sure that the specified amount of rosemary is quite enough unless you get creative with other spices, but it certainly adds something to the few mouthfuls it turns up in, and the parsley garnish brings a welcome crispness. It's also surprisingly sweet - or possibly not surprising considering it contains fried onions, peppers and tomato - so that should be kept in mind if adding anything to the mix, particularly with meat.

It's a ridiculously simple recipe - the most complicated part is seeding and slicing the peppers - takes less than an hour (particularly when made by two pairs of hands), and creates about four portions worth, so any spare can be refrigerated for another time. It's also very adaptable - you can start with multi-coloured peppers, add other herbs and spices, some meat or, as we tried for lunch the next day, stir-fry it with some egg for a bit of extra protein.

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