This past week a good friend brought me a copy of the original Stephenson’s Restaurant cookbook. Stephenson’s was originally an orchard and later around 1945 they started a small restaurant/café. It grew and flourished managed by the twin Stephenson brothers. The location was the Lee’s Summit/Independence area of Kansas City. In 2005 the restaurant bid the community adieu for the final time. Bess Truman once dined there with her lady friends. The former first lady requested something a little more robust than just a ‘punch’. The restaurant complied and the famous ‘wine punch’ recipe was established, at the restaurant.
Another recipe that was amongst their signature dishes was green rice. I can still remember the first time I enjoyed it at Stephenson’s. As you look at the ingredients in my new recipe, it ‘might’ remind some of you of the old-fashioned green rice. However, not too much, because I took several different directions in the ingredients. About the only thing they have totally in common is the rice. In the Stephenson’s green rice the green was from parsley. I chose spinach for the health benefits.
Curry is the main spice used in the recipe. I can’t begin to cover all the benefits of this wonderful spice. Allow me to hit upon a few tidbits of curry knowledge.
- There are many, and I mean many forms of curry.
- Curry is not one ingredients but the combination of many.
- The most predominant ingredient is turmeric.
- Curry is a green leaf plant, the dry blend is mixed with ingredients like
Turmeric, coriander, cardamom, cumin, sweet basil and red pepper.
- Most turmeric’s contain a nut grind of some sort, usually cashew or almond.
- Every country and region makes different curry blends, along with every restaurant and home.
- Curry helps prevent cancer, protects against heart disease, and reduces Alzheimer’s symptoms, pain and inflammation. Improves bone health, boosts immunity, and increases the liver’s ability to remove toxins.
- Curry assists in good brain health. In fact in India there is a significantly lower number of people, with Alzheimer’s disease.
- On the down side it can be an irritant to the gallbladder.
- Lastly, it’s also a blood thinner. Therefore if you’re on a blood thinning medication check with your physician before suddenly starting to eat curry 7 days a week. Most doctors will tell you the consumption amount would need to be very high for it to interfere with medications. Still, check with your physician.
I felt the addition of the green onions made the dish. When I first wrote the recipe I also did not use any bacon. It’s really quite delicious without the addition, but please your own palate.
The choice of cheese can be altered. I will say the flick of yellow coloring is a nice addition to the visual presentation. Smoked cheese might also be yummy.
If you’re over-run with ‘ham’ you could slip finely chopped into the dish. I can also see small pieces of chicken with the rice. The addition of peppers was considered, but it created too many conflicts, on the taste buds.
Enjoy the new dish and enjoy each and every day. Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com
Spinach Curry Rice Bake
4 1/2 cups cooked long grain rice
(1 1/3 – 1 1/2 cups dry rice yields 4 1/2 cups cooked rice.)
Rinse rice before cooking to remove excess starch.
Chicken Stock to cook rice
3 tablespoons butter or bacon drippings
12 green onions, chopped fine
10 ounces spinach, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups half and half
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
2 eggs, whisked
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons curry
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Optional: 4-5 slices cooked bacon, diced
Prepare a 9 x 13 baking dish by spraying it with vegetable spray. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Assemble a large sauté pan and a saucepan. Bring the chicken stock to a boil in the saucepan and cook the rice. Drain, if necessary, and set to the side.
In the large sauté pan place the butter or drippings. Start by sautéing the green onions and follow with the wilting of the spinach. Lastly; add the garlic to the mixture and conclude cooking. Remove from heat source.
Using a large bowl; place the half and half and melted butter together; stirring to blend. Add whisked eggs, pepper, curry and salt. Incorporate the spinach pan and the milk mixture together. Stir in the rice and cheddar cheese. Do not over mix. Place in a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until dish is set and browning around the edges. You could check for doneness with a parey knife in the center. If it’s clean the dish is done. If you choose to add bacon do so at the very end.
This recipe will serve 8-10 persons.
Debbie Dance Uhrig