Courgette and Rice Tian

Tian

I picked up this lovely Julia Child recipe via Food 52 and have been making it every few weeks ever since. Julia Child seems to be the most iconic  chef for French food in America. In my house growing up, Elizabeth David was the go-to, despite the fact that her recipes are pretty confusing for novice chefs. I actually hadn’t heard of Julia Child until the Julie & Julia film came out. Once I managed to overcome the resentment of losing an hour and a half of my life on that film, I was won over the real Julia’s recipes and wit. Nothing endears a food writer to me like an unhealthy respect for butter.

I’m a bit of an Irish stereotype about potatoes, I like to include them in most meals, but I’ve found this is a great substitute. I usually make it alongside roast tarragon chicken. If you want to make it a bit healthier, you can omit the cheese and maybe add in some chopped herbs like dill, basil or tarragon. It is nice cold the next day as well, so it makes a good lunch of leftovers. This serves six as a side dish.

Ingredients

  • 500g courgette
  • 50g rice
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • 100ml milk
  • Approximately 75g parmesan cheese, grated
  • 230mls liquid

Method

  • Grate the courgette and place in a colander.
  • Toss well with 2-3 teaspoons of salt and place over a large bowl or pot to catch all the escaping liquid.
  • Leave to sit and drain for at least 10 minutes.
  • Squeeze the courgette well to get out the rest of the liquid and dry it a bit.
  • Mix 130ml of the liquid with 100ml of milk in a saucepan.
  • Meanwhile, cook the rice in plenty of salted boiling water for 5 minutes until it is partially cooked, then drain.
  • Saute the onion in a large, deep frying pan with a little oil over low-medium heat for 8 minutes until translucent.
  • Turn up the heat for a minute or two to lightly colour the onion.
  • Add the courgette to the pan and cook for 5 minutes or so.
  • Turn the heat down, add the garlic and nutmeg and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Heat the milk/juice mixture gently.
  • Stir in the flour and mix well until smooth.
  • Take off the heat and slowly stir in the milk/juice bit by bit.
  • You may be tempted like me to add in extra liquid, thinking the mixture is too dry and the rice won’t soak it up properly. Don’t!
  • Put back on the heat until the mixture is bubbling.
  • Remove again and stir in the blanched rice and 2/3’s of the cheese.
  • Check for seasoning then pour into a buttered baking dish.
  • Top with the remaining cheese and drizzle with olive oil (optional).
  • Bake at 220C for about 15-20 minutes until the top is golden and crisp, and the rice has absorbed the liquid.
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