Saturday, May 8, 2010

Seis de Mayo!

Aside from being my mom's birthday (happy birthday, Mom!!), May 6 was a pretty darn good day. Why? Mexican leftovers!!!

I swear rice is almost always better the next day. Not because the texture improves - it doesn't - but because you have a really excellent staple for incorporating into other dishes. Rice-based salads are hearty and delicious. Fried rice demands pre-cooked rice, straight from the refrigerator. Who doesn't love fried rice? Risotto cakes, formed from day-old risotto, are delectable. And arancini are little rice ball croquettes that can be fried or baked. On Thursday, I decided to do a take on arancini, using the baking method from a Vegetarian Times recipe. I switched out the Italian flavors for Mexican ones, using all the leftover Mexican ingredients from our burritos from the night before, including the leftover black beans and charred bell peppers and onion. Flavorful Mexican rice formed the base, and I rolled the balls in panko to achieve a crispy exterior.

We ate the Mexican rice balls alongside a fresh salad made with our box greens. The greens this week were really good!

Here's what I did:

Baked Mexican Rice Balls
See the recipes for each of the components here.

Leftover Mexican rice, about 2 to 3 cups
Leftover black beans and onions
Leftover charred red bell peppers and onions, chopped
Cheese - about 3/4 cup shredded (I used a Mexican blend)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups panko or other breadcrumbs
Condiments and garnish, such as sour cream, salsa, and chopped lettuce

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Mix together the rice, black beans, veggies, and cheese. Add the eggs and mix to incorporate. Form the rice mixture into balls about 3 inches in diameter. Place the panko in a shallow bowl or on a plate. Roll each rice ball in the panko, making sure to get plenty of panko to stick to each ball, and place on the baking sheet. My mix made about 12 balls, enough for 3 to 4 servings.

Bake for about 25 minutes, until the balls are crisp and browned.

Serve with various Mexican condiments and garnishes, including salsa, sour cream, and lettuce. Yum!

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