Rib sticking comfort food is definitely what satisfies in these days of subzero temperatures, but sometimes a girl just wants a salad!! Is there any way to have the best of both worlds? Of course!
To satisfy my very specific cravings I created a rice cake… wait, no… veggie burger? No, that doesn’t work either. I’m just going to stick to “winter salad accessory.” I was inspired by a shiitake mushroom based veggie burger that I had at Northstar Public House. It was delicious! However, I didn’t necessarily want a veggie burger so I made something else. Essentially, it was mushroom and brown rice griddled cake and it was the perfect accoutrement for a big pile of greens and a bright, citrusy dressing. Golden brown and crispy on the outside giving way to an unctuous risotto-like creaminess on the inside, yum, so dreamy!
Brown Rice and Mushroom “Cakes” with Greens and Lemon Creme Fraiche Dressing
- 1/2 cup short grain brown rice
- 1 cup chicken stock (or water)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon butter (salted or unsalted)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small white onion, finely diced
- a splash of worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 cups assorted mushrooms (I buy a blend at Wegman’s of shiitakes, baby bella and oysters)
- 1 carrot, peeled and grated
- 1 teaspoon each fresh oregano and rosemary, minced
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup creme fraiche, plus two tablespoons
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- juice of half of a lemon
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus some to cook with
- 1 cup mixed greens
Start by cooking the brown rice. Add the rice, stock or water, butter, bay leaf and a little salt into a pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Cover and let cook for 45 minutes. When done, spread the rice out into a thin layer on a baking sheet and allow to cool.
In the meantime, heat a pan over medium heat. When hot, start to sweat the onion and garlic in some olive oil. When the aromatics have softened, toss in the mushrooms and saute, stirring occasionally. When the mushrooms have shrunk and given up most of their liquid, about 3-4 minutes, season with salt and pepper. Add the herbs and the splash of worcestershire into the pan and stir to combine. Move this mixture into a large bowl.
Add the shredded carrot and the cooled rice to the bowl with the mushroom mixture along with the flour, mustard and creme fraiche. Give this a big stir to combine. To form the cakes, dampen hands slightly with water and dig in! You can form these into any shape and size that you please. I did about the size of a regular burger patty.
To cook the cakes, I heated a cast iron skillet to medium high heat and placed the cakes down in some olive oil and let sear for about 5 minutes on each side.
The dressing is a simple concoction of the juice of half of a lemon, the two tablespoons of creme fraiche, the 1/4 cup of olive oil and salt and pepper, mixed with a fork until homogenous.