Spinach + Raisins + Pine Nuts; Rice + Mushrooms (Andorra)

September 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

J: Okay guys so the title of this post is pretty much the main ingredients for the two dishes we made for Andorra, because the dishes are literally called “Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts” and “Rice with Mushrooms.”  Apparently Andorra is not creative with their side dish titles, and I am feeling uncreative in terms of trying to come up with new titles for them, so we’re going with it.

We chose to do these dishes instead of a “main dish” for Andorra because their entrées seemed to primarily involve things like boar, kid (as in the baby goat), pig spine, hambone, lamb, veal, and black pudding (not a dessert. look it up.).  Sometimes all at once.  It was a little bit terrifying and we are kind of poor and also not into consuming eighteen different kinds of meat at the same time, so we decided that we would do something a little unconventional and make two vegetarian side dishes instead.  Turns out this was a pretty great idea!

not our most interesting-looking, but tasty!

Both of these dishes are pretty delicious, pretty easy to throw together, and not terrible for you.  Win-win-win!  I’m going to go through them one at a time, but obviously you can do them simultaneously.

Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts
(original recipe here)

Olive oil
Handful or two of pine nuts – adjust according to how much you like pine nuts
Handful or two of raisins – again, adjust accordingly
4oz fresh spinach
Salt & pepper, to taste

Okay, um, how to make this sound more impressive than it is…

Add a little (very little, less than a tbsp) of oil to a pan, and roast the pine nuts for a few minutes, until they’re starting to turn slightly golden.  Add the raisins and spinach, season with salt and pepper, and cook the spinach down until it gets to your preferred level of wiltedness.

This hardly even counts as a recipe, guys, really.  Step 1: Put stuff in a pan.  Step 2: Cook it. Step 3: ???? Step 4: Profit!!

absurdly easy

Rice with Mushrooms
(original recipe here)

Olive oil
1 onion, sliced into half-moons
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 sprig parsley
10ish large mushrooms, quartered or halved (we just used white & crimini, but feel free to be more adventurous!)
Splash of white wine (optional, but why not?)
2 c rice
5ish c water or stock (we used stock – more flavor!)
Salt & pepper, to taste

This is a bit more involved than the above recipe, but still really easy.  It’s pretty similar to a risotto in principle, just lower-maintenance.

Start off by prepping all your ingredients:

never too many prep shots

Add a tablespoon or two of oil to a large pot, heat up over medium/medium-high, and add the onions.  Let them cook for a few minutes.

At the same time, put the stock/water in another pot, and get it heating up.  You want it essentially boiling by the time you add it to everything else.

onions! as usual.

Toss in your garlic, parsley, and bay leaf, and keep cooking until the onions are transparent.  Then add the mushrooms.  Cook for another 5-ish minutes.

risotto-ish, without the rice

At this point, add a splash of wine or vermouth, and then add your rice.  Stir to get the rice evenly distributed, and shortly after (less than a minute, I would say), add the stock or water.  Yes, all at once.

very wet

Cook at a simmer until the rice has absorbed pretty much all the stock.  This is where it diverges from risotto — you would normally add the stock bit by bit, but here you just go for it.  Keep an eye on it and stir from time to time, but otherwise it’ll pretty much do its thing, and you don’t have a lot of work to do.

When it has fully absorbed the stock, and the rice tastes done, you’re good!  Season with salt and pepper, serve with the spinach, and enjoy.

double the side dishes, double the fun

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