Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Cranberry Rice Pudding

Sure, I try to write about using the fresh, seasonal, local produce bounty to create dinner.  But sometimes, it's about upcycling.

I don't make white rice, but I do sometimes acquire white rice.  Sometimes it comes along with General Tso's Tofu.  And it sits in the fridge.  Sometimes I have the common sense to freeze it and make fried rice with it later, other times it sits until we have to give it the old sniff-n-toss.

Let's face it, not every meal is a home-cooked treasure.  But just like I add spinach or chard to my leftover Chicken Tikka Masala to stretch my takeout into a three day experience, cooked takeout white rice can be turned into a creamy dessert that pretty much comes free with your delivery meal.  Recycled rice = instant dessert. 

So we start with one "pint" white rice. The quotes are intentional.  It looked like a pint.  It had a pink "16" on the bottom.  It weighed 14 ounces and measured into about two and a third cups.  Sure, fluid ounces and rice ounces don't take up the same amount of space, and how packed your pint is will vary from restaurant to restaurant and meal to meal.

Let's say you're starting with two cups of rice.  Scale as needed.  Add that rice and an equal amount of milk to a pot.  That can be cow milk or vegan milk, whole, skim, whatever. It's your dessert.  If you want to go all out, do some milk and some cream.  I used whole cow milk.

Add two thirds of a cup of sugar.  That's a lot of sugar!  If you're avoiding sugar, use less.  It can be more breakfasty than desserty. 

Add a tablespoon of butter. 

And a third- to a half-cup of dried cranberries.  The cranberries will rehydrate a bit as they cook. 

And vanilla extract.  A tablespoon or so.  More if you're like that. 

Stir it all together, and bring it just to a boil.  Dial it down to a low simmer and stir occasionally for 10-20 minutes, depending on how dry your rice was to start with.  This batch took 12 minutes. 

When your milk is all absorbed and the pudding is creamy, you're almost done.  If absorbs all the milk and still isn't creamy, add a splash (1/4 cup?) of milk and give it five minutes, stirring over low heat.  

If you're into it, and I'm into it, stir in some cinnamon. A teaspoon is a good start. 

And grate in some nutmeg.  I used a half. 

Bust out your pretty ramekins or martini glasses or a cereal bowl and chill.  This makes six small (reasonable) servings.   Or, you could serve it hot and call it breakfast. 

This is cross-posted at the blog for the South Philly Food Co-op, whose mission is to open a member-owned cooperative grocery store that provides affordable and nutritious food to all residents of South Philadelphia while empowering the local community through sustainable practices, food-centric education, outreach, and community building.  

Become a member-owner (like me!) by filling out the application here.

Cranberry Rice Pudding

  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 2 cups (more if needed) milk (cow, soy, almond, whatever)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (more to taste) dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg

  • Add everything to a pot except the spices. Stir and bring to a boil. 
  • Dial back to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until milk is absorbed and rice is tender and pudding-like. 10-20 minutes.
  • If milk is absorbed before rice is tender, add a bit more milk and give it five minutes on low. 
  • Add cinnamon and nutmeg, stir and chill, or serve warm.


Cook time: Yield: 6 servings

click the thing you want to read about