Jun 8, 2011

Rice goes with everything and Garden Variety Wednesday #7 link up

Welcome to
Garden Variety Wednesday # 7

Link up your recipes & ideas using fresh produce below.

Leave it to Southerners to take perfectly healthy vegetables and add bacon.  Or cheese.  Or both.

Leave it to a Cajun to add rice.

The story goes...
Mama says, "I cooked da rice.  Now what yall want to eat?"

It's true that we eat rice with pretty much anything and everything. 

Another story goes...
A real Cajun can look at a rice field and tell you how much gravy it would take to cover that rice.

Speaking of real Cajuns, today's recipe comes from Donald Link, author of one of my favorite cookbooks--not coincidentally titled Real Cajun.

I reviewed this book a while back, but I'm still trying recipes from it and finding lots of treasures.

Link's Zucchini & Rice Gratin is one of my favorites from Real Cajun.  It's deliciously bacony (Don't care what spellchecker says...bacony IS a word.) & hearty--I could make a meal out of it alone. And I have. It's also a really great opportunity to use all that rice we have around here.

Despite problems with squirrels & powdery mildew, I had a pretty good squash & zucchini crop this year.  This Zucchini & Rice Gratin was one of the things I looked most forward to making with them. 

So I'll admit, this has more details/ingredients than I'd usually invest in a side dish unless cooking for a potluck or family gathering.  Often, I make this the main dish with a side salad.

Today, I used both zucchini and yellow squash.  I also used Ritz crackers instead of breadcrumbs.

Anything that starts with rendering bacon then sneaks in a simmer in a heavy cream hot tub has to be good. 
Don't cha think?

Throw in some leftover rice,
and Cajuns'll be heading your way.
Don't say I didn't warn you.

I like how the rice is studded with little jewels of bacon, squash, and zucchini.

We all know that most casseroles don't win beauty contests.

But I think this one wins for taste.

Zucchini & Rice Gratin

Adapted from Real Cajun by Donald Link

3-4 strips bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ tsp dried oregano
¾-1 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 or 4 medium zucchini, cut into chunks (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 cups cooked rice
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup unseasoned dry breadcrumbs (I used crushed Ritz crackers)
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large, deep skillet over medium-high, cook the bacon until almost crisp. Add the onion, garlic, and seasonings and cook until the onion is tender. Add the zucchini and cook for another 7-8 minutes.
Add the chicken broth and cream, and simmer for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat if the mixture bubbles too rapidly. Remove the skillet from heat and set aside to cool for about 15 minutes.
In a small bowl mix the breadcrumbs (or cracker crumbs) with the cheese and olive oil. Set aside.
When the zucchini mixture has cooled, add the rice and beaten eggs. Pour into a greased 13 x 9 pan. Top with the breadcrumb/cracker crumb mixture. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the top is golden.

Ms. enPlace

~ Made a dish with something you nurtured in your garden?
~ Maybe a neighbor stopped by and shared some of his/her harvest?
~ Have baskets of goodies from a pick-your-own farm?
~ Found some treasures at your local farmer's market?

* Please don't forget to link back to Ms. enPlace or grab a Garden Variety Wednesday button and add it to your post.
* Link your post--not your home page.
* Please, one link per person.
* Since growing seasons differ so much even across the US, old/archived posts are welcome, but please edit with a link back or a button.
* Have fun visiting other blogs!

Garden Variety Wednesday schedule:
June 22
July 13 & July 27       
August 10 & August 24


I'm linking up with the following...head on over!

Food on Friday: Rice & Grains @ Carole's Chatter

Make a Food-"e"-Friend Monday #16 @ The Saturday Evening Pot

Tuesdays at the Table @ All The Small Stuff

Hearth and Soul vol 51 @ A Moderate Life

Delectable Tuesday @ Home Sweet Farm

Made it on Monday #13 @ Lark's Country Heart

Turning the Table Thursday @ Around My Family Table (new)

What's Cooking Thursday @ Feeding Four

Potluck Friday @ EKat's Kitchen

Foodie Friday @ Little Brick Ranch

Fresh Food Friday @ la bella vita

Friday Food @ Mom Trends

Cookbook Sundays @ Mom's Sunday Cafe


  1. OK, you convinced me, I'm going to try this, LOL. I love rice and squash. So like you, add bacon and cheese and I'm totally in!!

  2. This looks and sounds wonderful! And I agree, bacony is definitely a word! Thank you for hosting!

  3. Sounds delicious! WISH we had a garden... maybe we can have a small one at our new house (closing Friday!)... has a good sized back yard!

  4. I'm intrigued about the origins of this recipe. Does the author mention it ? I have a Jamie Oliver book, Jamie Does, where he goes to rural France and makes a recipe that looks a lot like that. I wonder if it could be the French that brought it to Eastern Canada, then the Acadians took it with them to Louisiana when they were deported...

    Anyhoo, I made Jamie's recipe last year and I can't wait to make it again. It was so easy and a great way to use all the summer zucchinis :-)

  5. Looks scrumptious and I love that cookbook, too! I'm linking up my Fried Green Tomato Poboys. Merci for hosting, cher!

  6. Thanks for linking up Cindy, April, Martha, & Marguerite! I'll be by to visit your blogs and thank you properly just as soon as blogger stops being pesky ;-)

    Marguerite- I'm working on the awards...didn't forget!

    Melodie- that's interesting and could quite possibly be the case. Just the sort of thing I like to read about. Chef Link does not give origin background for this recipe. I'd never heard of something like this until I saw it in his cookbook. It isn't something I or my husband ever ate growing up.

    The Lucky Wife-good luck with the new house! I hope you can put in a garden!

  7. Thanks for hosting!

    I just linked up my Strawberry Rhubarb Jam. I had 20 lbs. of fresh rubarb! :)

  8. Thanks for linking this Wonderful Squash Recipe, to Made it on Monday!

    I have plenty of squash growing in my garden.

  9. I'm so glad I saw this linked at Home Sweet Farm! Looks delicious and I'm just about ready to pick the first squash from my garden... perfect!


  10. What a nice summertime dish. I could use a plate of that squash!

  11. Anonymous6/10/2011

    This looks WONDERFUL!! Bikini be damned! Thanks for linking up to Foodie Friday. I hope to see you again next week!!

  12. I love rice. I love cheese. I love bacon. I could be Cajun!

  13. I love your idea of using fresh produce. We grow our own veggies so I'll be back next time with a recipe to share.

  14. I'm so glad I saw this linked at Home Sweet Farm! Looks delicious and I'm just about ready to pick the first squash from my garden... perfect!Thanks!

  15. I could definitely make a main dish out of this. I love every single ingredient. Looks delicious!

  16. This has been bookmarked! With all the zucchini and squash coming in, I'm very much looking forward to making it. Thanks so much for taking the time to find and review the recipe. I think I'll go along with you and use the Ritz crackers.

  17. Wow, this looks delicious! I agree rice is nice studded with such goodies. Thanks for linking with Cookbook Sunday.

  18. Hi, sharing the garden at work and swiss chard! Thanks for hosting.

  19. This sounds really good!! Thanks for sharing at what's cooking thursdays



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