This hearty vegetarian main course casserole would be a lovely option to serve vegetarian guests during the holidays. We ate it as a cozy winter meal with roasted broccoli and green salad.
The puréed beans add creaminess to the filling. After reading comments about this recipe online, I was apprehensive to include all of the bean liquid required in the original recipe because others had complained that the final consistency was mushy. I only used half of a cup but next time I would include 1 cup or even additional liquid (noted below).
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I substituted celery for fennel, added a chipotle chile, used mixed baby greens, and reduced the breadcrumbs, beans, liquid, and baking time. It was the ultimate dish to utilize my brand new giant 14-inch skillet. Yay! The vegetables could be cooked in batches if using a smaller pan, of course.
Yield: 12 servings
- 2 ¼ cups vegetable, mushroom or chicken stock
- coarse salt
- 1 ¼ cups wild rice, rinsed
- 9 t0 10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
- 24 oz sliced mushrooms, preferably a mix of different kinds (I used cremini mushrooms.)
- 3 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
- 1 celery heart or 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and chopped
- 5 ounces mixed baby kale, chard, and spinach
- 7 fat garlic cloves (4 chopped, 3 finely grated or crushed into a paste)
- ½ tablespoon tomato paste
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 (14-ounce) cans white beans, strained with liquid reserved (I used cannellini beans.)
- 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce (about 2 tsp)
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro (or basil)
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 1/4 cups panko or coarse bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional
- Taste broth; if bland, season to taste with salt. In a medium pot, bring broth to a boil over high heat. Stir in rice, lower heat, cover and simmer until just tender, about 1 hour, or according to package directions. Fluff rice with a fork, cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, sauté vegetables: In a large, heavy skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until brown and crispy, about 8 to 10 minutes. (If using a smaller pan, cook in batches, adding oil if necessary.)
- Adjust heat as needed to prevent burning. Transfer cooked mushrooms to a plate and sprinkle lightly with salt.
- In the empty skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Stir in leeks, fennel/celery and 1 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring, until soft but not browned, about 8 minutes.
- Stir in baby greens, chopped garlic, tomato paste and red pepper flakes, and cook until garlic starts turning golden, another 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees, and oil a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. (I used cooking oil spray.)
- In a blender, purée 2 cans beans with 1/2 cup to 1 cup of the reserved liquid, chipotle, lemon juice, 1 grated garlic clove, and salt to taste. (I used a Vitamix.)
- Stir bean purée, remaining whole beans (drained), mushrooms, cilantro, parsley and cooked wild rice into skillet with vegetables. Taste and add more salt or lemon as needed; it should be well seasoned. Add additional bean liquid, if necessary, in order to achieve desired consistency. Scrape into prepared baking dish.
- In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, rosemary, lemon zest, remaining 2 grated garlic cloves and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir in 1/4 cup olive oil and Parmesan, if using.
- Sprinkle evenly on top of casserole and bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.
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