Baked Brown Rice with Smoked Gouda Cheese and Spinach

Baked Brown Rice w/ Smoked Gouda Cheese & Spinach

This is a truly comforting side dish recipe for Baked Brown Rice with Smoked Gouda Cheese & Spinach. There’s serious creaminess going on and a ton of deep, smoky flavor from the Gouda that makes it unforgettably delicious.

The sauce is started with a roux and made with chicken broth, milk, Smoked Gouda cheese, lightly caramelized onions, garlic and spinach. I used a combination of broth with just a little bit of milk to give it a light feel and add extra flavor.

I always have bagged, chopped spinach on hand. It’s my go-to when I want to add a little something extra to casseroles, pastas or soups. And one bag goes a long way. I love the way it speckles into tiny pieces throughout the rice.

The rice has to be cooked first – which can make this time consuming; unless you have leftovers or make it ahead of time. Don’t be mistaken though, the extra time is worth it. And you might be lucky enough to have leftovers for lunch the next day.

I am thrilled with the way this turned out for a recipe that started off on a questionable note as an experiment of sorts. It’s rich and woodsy with a luxurious creaminess that I almost feel comfortable with comparing to risotto. It’s really lovely.

Baked Brown Rice w/ Smoked Gouda Cheese & Spinach

Baked Rice with Smoked Gouda Cheese & Spinach
(by Reeni)(Makes 10 side dish servings)
1 yellow onion, sliced thin
3 tablespoons Olive oil
Sea or Kosher Salt and Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Sugar
4 cloves Garlic, minced
3 tablespoons Butter
1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Milk
14 ounces of Chicken or Vegetable Broth (1 + 3/4 cup)
2 cups Smoked Gouda, shredded
1 + 1/2 cups frozen Spinach, partially thawed
3 cups long-grain Brown Rice, cooked
Fresh Parsley, chopped, for garnish
Parmesan Cheese, grated, for serving
1. Heat oil in a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium-low heat, add onion, sugar and season with salt and pepper. Saute 15-20 minutes, adding more oil if it begins to stick to the pan. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Remove from pan and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.
3. In the same pan the onions were sauteed in melt butter and whisk in flour. Cook for two to three minutes, whisking. Slowly whisk in milk and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer, whisking often. Stir in Gouda. Add spinach and onion mixture. Turn off heat. Whisk well and break apart any clumps of spinach.
3. Stir in cooked rice. Pour into greased 9×13 casserole/baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbly. Let set for ten minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley and serve with Parmesan if desired.

Baked Brown Rice w/ Smoked Gouda Cheese & Spinach

This is for my April Side Dish Showdown.  
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