Pre-Pearing for Fall (and bad puns…)

red-rice-and-pear-bakeIt’s officially fall: the pears are falling off of the trees. (Especially when you have gusting winds like we’ve been having lately.) One of my friends has so many pears lying on the ground underneath her tree that she keeps giving me more and more – she can’t bear to see any wasted. Wish I had a overbearing fruit tree problem! My indoor lime tree wasn’t quite so plentiful…

Needless to say, now I have pears on the brain. And in the pan and the blender and the ice cream maker and any other place I can think to put them. Last night I went with a savory setting for my pear windfall. I threw in some chestnuts, too, since roasted and peeled chestnuts are popping up in stores now. If you don’t have chestnuts, though, ground almonds would work just as well – either one adds a welcome nutty undertone to the hearty rice and sweet pears.

Red Rice & Pear Bake
Makes an 8″x8″ pan, enough for at least 4 servings.

1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Barlett pear, chopped
1-2 tsp. dried sage (I like sage a lot, so I used 2 tsp.)
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
3 cups cooked red or brown rice (1 cup raw = about 3 cups cooked; whole-grain rice usually takes about 40 minutes to cook)
1/2 cup freshly ground roasted and peeled chestnuts OR 1/2 cup freshly ground raw sliced almonds
2 T. butter, preferably from grass-fed cows
2 T. brown rice flour OR other whole-grain flour
3/4 cup to 1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup to 1 cup chicken broth, preferably from free-range chicken

Preheat oven to 350F. Set aside an 8″x8″ glass pan.

In a large skillet, sautée onion in a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil for 4 minutes over medium heat. When onions are turning translucent, add garlic, pear, sage, and salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to sautée for another 3 minutes or so, long enough to soften the garlic and make it fragrant but not so long that the pears start to get mushy. Pull off the heat.

Melt the butter in a medium-sized pot over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour, stirring constantly, and cook for about one minute or until the mixture turns a deep gold. Gradually add the milk – about 1/4 cup every minute or 2 minutes – while you continue to whisk constantly. The roux should thicken and bubble slightly as you’re whisking. If it isn’t velvety enough after 3/4 cup of milk, gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup until it is. By “velvety enough,” I mean smooth and thick rather than bumpy with lumps of flour. The most important thing is to keep stirring to prevent the roux from burning.

Spoon the roux into the onion-and-pear mixture. Add rice and ground nuts and stir to combine. (You might want to do all of this combining in a large mixing bowl or directly in the glass baking pan. I did the latter.) Stir in the chicken broth, starting with 3/4 cup and gently tossing the mix to make sure everything is evenly coated with sauce. If the mixture still seems dry, add the remaining 1/4 cup of broth.

Bake for 30 minutes or until top is lightly golden and bubbling. Leftovers can be refrigerated up to 4 days.

Enjoy!

Courtesy of Cultured Cook.

You may also like:

Protect Your Lungs this Fall: Breathe Easy Pear!

Delicious Vegan Pear Turnovers

Making Baking Even Easier

© Copyright 2011  Allison Stuart Kaplan  www.Askinyourface.com LLC

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