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Baked Spanish Rice

1 cup rice or brown rice
1 cup of water or stock
1 can tomatoes (crushed)
1 large onion (diced)
1 large clove of garlic (optional)
1/2 sweet green or red pepper, diced or chopped (optional)
1 tsp cumin
1 small hot pepper, fresh seeded, diced or sliced
1 tablespoon herbs, dried (thyme, basil)
1 pound/1/2 kg ground meat (beef, pork, lamb or a mixture)
1 tsp ground black pepper (freshly ground if at all possible)
1/2 tsp salt

Cook the rice, with the salt, until the liquid is absorbed, this
will be a dry rice at this point. Let stand until partially cooled

While the rice is cooking, saute the ground meat with the spices,
onions, peppers, garlic and hot peppers until the meat is browned.
Drain excess fat from the meat, add the herbs and mix together.
Let stand until partially cooled.

You have a choice of mixing rice and meat together or creating
layers in a casserole dish. Once the mixture is in the casserole,
try not to pack it down too much, add the canned tomatoes and let
this work its way down and in for 5 %96 10 minutes while you preheat
your oven to 325 degrees.

At this point you can add cheese on top if you wish, a good old
cheddar is great. Cover the casserole dish and bake in the oven
for 30 to 45 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed and the
rice is tender.


Do not forget that the rice is not fully cooked so that, as it
absorbs the liquid from the tomato, it WILL expand. So, leave a
little expansion room in your casserole dish.

As a final touch, if you are using cheese and want a brown top,
uncover the dish, after cooking is complete, and broil, not too
close to the element, until desired colour is achieved.

Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes and serve.


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