This is a variation on the rice with spinach recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s An Invitation to Indian Cooking, and it came about when I had three different kinds of dark leafy green to use up — kale, chard, and collards. I incorporated ricotta cheese in the final step for a bit of heft. The recipe will take much less time with the help of a food processor; otherwise, be prepared for lots of chopping. This would be an excellent side dish to some sort of fleshy or faux-fleshy accompaniment, be it lamb chops or hard-boiled eggs or grilled tempeh or (oh yes!) Quorn.
You will need:
2 cups long-grain brown rice
1 1/2 lb. fresh greens (kale, collards, chard, spinach, beet greens, etc.), washed & stems removed
6 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
2 medium-sized onions
2 1/4 cups stock
1 teaspoon garam masala
3/4 cup crushed unsalted pistachios
1 cup ricotta cheese
Soak rice for at least 2 hours with a teaspoon of salt. When this time has passed, wilt the greens by steaming them or dropping them in a pot of boiling water for a little bit, letting them drip dry in a colander.
Peel and roughly chop your onions, and process them so that they are very fine. Heat the ghee or oil in a 3-4 quart oven-proof casserole. Add the onions and sauté until they are golden; while you are doing this, process the greens until they are a very fine pulp. Add the greens and garam masala to the onions, and sauté over a medium flame for about a half hour.
Preheat the oven to 300°. Drain the rice and add to the greens mixture with the stock. Stir and allow the mixture to come to a boil; lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Test for saltiness.
Stir the pistachios and ricotta in with the rice and greens, and cover the pot with foil. Poke a few holes in to let steam escape. Bake for 30 minutes, then check to see that the rice is cooked. If not, bake 5-10 minutes more. Serve hot right from the oven, or cook in advance and reheat for 15 minutes.
As Ms. Jaffrey comments, “This is an excellent dish to impress guests with because it tastes very good and looks spectacular.” It does look very nice, and although purists may frown upon the unorthodox addition of ricotta, it tastes very nice too.