Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Anna Sultana’s Ross il-Forn #2 (Baked Rice, Maltese Style)

Hope you've been keeping warm and well.
The weather here on the North American prairies has been setting records.
Not very nice records.
Today here in Winnipeg we're at -39º C, but, with the wind chill, it feels like -51º C.
The worst should be over by tomorrow.
Sure looking forward to tomorrow. 

Weather like this calls for a nice plate of solid comfort food.
It’s time to bring on the carbs.
A salad or a plate heavy on presentation but light in food is just not going to be enough.

Malta doesn’t get this cold but it has perfect meals for times like this.
In 2011 I posted the recipe for Ma’s Ross il-Forn.
That’s Baked Rice, Maltese Style.
Ross il-Forn is Maltese cooking at its best.
It's our version of Kraft's macaroni and cheese, and has always been one of the most popular recipes of this blog.
Its total is so much greater than the sum of its ingredients.

Ma’s original recipe uses ground beef or a combination of ground beef and pork.
Well, it was created long before people even knew cholesterol existed.

In her later years Ma made a few adjustments to her recipes for health reasons.
She had tried a veggie burger and thought it was pretty good.
Good enough to use in a few of her recipes. 

Simulated ground beef is a handy item to have in the freezer, especially in winter.
It can replace ground beef in most recipes, and is a low-fat source of protein.
Soy protein, disguised as ground beef, helps to lower cholesterol.
If you worry about allergies, it also contains mustard and barley, and is also not good for people allergic to wheat.
Well, nothing's perfect.

Here’s Ma's healthier version of Ross il-Forn.
Why not give it a try.

                        Ross il-Forn
Preheat oven to 350º        

Finely chop
1 onion                             
3 slices bacon  

In a large oven proof pot heat over medium heat
4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
Fry the chopped onion and bacon until the bacon is cooked but not overdone.
156 mL (5 1/2 ounce) can tomato paste
796 mL (28 ounce) canned tomatoes 
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 Cup water  
Stir to combine.                       

2 Cups uncooked rice
340 grams ( 3/4 pound) veggie ground round
3 Cups of water
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese 
Stir well.
Cover and bake 1 hour.  

Take the pot out of the oven, and stir the rice mixture thoroughly.
Sprinkle on top
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese 
Cover and continue baking for 30-45 minutes, until it's a rich brown.

Serve with a salad or cooked vegetable and feel comforted.