Recipe: Cheese & Peas Rice Balls
Usually when I’m cooking, my husband Ed is there to help when things (inevitably) go awry.
“Why is this sauce so bitter?” “Needs some sugar.”
“Does this taste like something is missing?” “Add a bit of thyme.”
“Why won’t my rice balls stick together?” “You overcooked the rice.”
I was flying solo last night and struggling with this new recipe. I knew I’d overcooked the rice and figured that’s why they weren’t sticking together very well, but I was second-guessing myself and needed Ed’s reassurance. Alas, he had passed out on the couch watching “Schitt’s Creek” (brilliant, btw) after a few hours of pool volleyball and many, many beers in the backyard with his friends. As I was pulling them out of the oven, he popped up like he’d been awake the whole time, assuring me they tasted great but agreeing they were too dry. Next time, with Conscious Ed in my court, they’ll be perfect!
3 c. cooked brown rice
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 bag of frozen peas
1 yellow onion, diced
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c. low-fat sharp cheddar cheese
Box of Panko bread crumbs
1/2 T. Red pepper flakes
2 t. Thyme
1 t. cayenne
Salt & pepper to taste
I served the rice balls with broccoli tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar that had been roasted in the oven for 25 minutes.
1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cook the rice according to package directions, substituting water for vegetable broth. Be very, very careful not to overcook it! You want the rice to be as sticky as possible.
2) Sauté the onion and garlic in a pan over medium heat until translucent. Add in the frozen peas and cook for five minutes or until all liquid is gone. Remove from heat.
3) In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice, eggs, cheddar and spices. Mix well, then stir in the onions/garlic/peas and mix well again.
4) Pour the breadcrumbs onto a plate. You won’t use the whole box, so just pour as needed.
5) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray. You’ll use this for the rice balls.
6) Using a spoon, form a small patty (a bit smaller than your palm) with the rice mixture. Top with a mozzarella pearl, than add a bit more of the rice mixture. Form into a ball with the pearl in the center. Drop the ball in the breadcrumbs and coat well, then place onto the parchement-lined baking sheet. Repeat until all rice balls are formed.
7) Cook the rice balls for about 25 minutes or until they’re golden brown. You want the insides to be nice and hot and for the mozzarella pearl to be melted and oozy when you cut into it.