The ingredients seem simple enough. And to be honest, when I first read what Nuria picked, I arrogantly thought to myself, "This is going to be a breeze." Errrrr! Wrong! Coming up with something unique and genuine with such common ingredients was much, much, much harder than I thought. And after one failed attempt (turns out rice pudding should remain under the dessert category and not make any savory debuts) and a week's worth of (mis)conceptualizing, I was all but ready to give this month's Joust up.
But then a little bell rang in this jumbled mind of mine. It tolled out, "Maria, think more along the lines of what you know." No fancy schmancy savory rice puddings; no rice terrines; just simple, solid flavors using techniques that can't go wrong. So here you have it -- rice sauteed with bacon, mushrooms and parsley then rolled into long packets of phyllo, baked and served over a bed of roasted cherry tomatoes and peppers tossed in sugar and spicy Hungarian Paprika.
Now head on over to Jenn's site and take a look at the array of entries for this month's Joust ... they're all truly mouthwatering.
Rice, Mushrooms and Bacon Wrapped in Phyllo over Sweet & Spicy Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Mini Peppers
1 cup Arborio rice
1 1/2 cups water/chicken broth
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups sliced mushrooms
6 oz. bacon, chopped
Handful of parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
10 sheets of phyllo
Partially cook rice in 1 1/2 to 2 cups water, chicken broth or vegetable broth and set aside. In a large skillet, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil and saute onion until soft. Add the bacon and cook until slightly browned. Stir in the mushrooms and toss to coat well with the bacon and onions. Add the rice to the skillet, season with salt, pepper and paprika and cook for a minute more. Sprinkle with parsley and remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take your phyllo, two sheets at a time, and oil the top sheet. Spoon some of the rice mixture along the shorter side of the phyllo about an inch from the edge. Begin rolling the phyllo over the mixture, making a long "packet," and brush the phyllo a little each time you roll the packet. Place in an oiled baking dish and brush top of phyllo packet with additional oil. Continue with the remaining phyllo and rice mixture; you should have five long rows of phyllo stuffed with rice. Score the tops of each row to cut through top layers of phyllo and make cutting through each piece later easier. Bake in center of oven for 45 minutes or until golden.
To serve as a first course, serve the phyllo packets over a bed of cherry tomatoes and mini peppers that have been tossed in sugar, hot Hungarian Paprika and olive oil, then roasted until tender.