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Pork and Rice Casserole with Spring Vegetables & Rosemary


This very old 'family favourite' was handed down by a C@H grandmother.  She leaned heavily on the basic recipe during hard times, variously adding more or less rice and pork, and/or substituting vegetables as they came available or in season (or even in cans).  The creamy texture of the casserole combined with the warmth of the rosemary and left-over pork roast (or chops or loin), create the ultimate culinary comfort. 

We modernized the original recipe and ingredients (the original used canned mushroom soup), but the results are as satisfying as ever.  The abundance of rice and pork makes for a rather netural palette, so dress it up with green salad or roasted tomatoes.  
Bonus #1:  Makes a lovely 'cold' addition to summer party and picnic menus.
Bonus #2:  Standard hot buffet and party fare - can be made ahead, covered and re-heated.
Tip:  Buy a larger pork roast than you need, then chop, tightly wrap and freeze left-over pork for use later, in this recipe. 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup beef, chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup chopped crimini (brown button) mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1/2 cup blanched baby carrots, sliced into nickel-thin coins
  • 1/2 cup (3 or 4) blanched asparagus, sliced into nickel-thin coins
  • 2 cups cubed cooked pork (pork roast is best but any pork will do)
  • 2 cups cooked white or brown rice (basmati is lovely but any rice will do)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried or 1.5 teaspoons fresh and very finely chopped rosemary
  • Sweet paprika for sprinkling overtop

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Saute onion gently in olive oil, over low heat, until soft and translucent.  Add mushrooms and cook until most of their liquid evaporates.  Add garlic and rosemary and saute a bit further, but do not brown garlic.   Add butter toward the end and when melted, add the flour and stir to make a sort of  roux.  Add broth and milk and bring to boil to thicken.

Add all other ingredients except paprika.  Stir until well incorporated.  Mixture should be wet and creamy, but not soupy.  If it is dry, add some warm milk or warm broth.  Turn into a buttered or oiled 1.5 - 2 quart casserole dish and sprinkle paprika overtop.   Bake at 350F for 45 minutes (25 minutes covered, then uncover) until hot and bubbling at edges.

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