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With all the indulging these holidays, wouldn’t it be nice if you showed up to a party with the healthiest dish? One of the healthiest grains, brown rice, was used in this casserole.

This is a versatile side that can double as an entrée too, with its combined flavors of nutty brown rice, two hearty sausages, various vegetables, crisp almonds and broth. Just the thing to complement roasts or salads anytime of the year.

BROWN RICE with SAUSAGES & VEGETABLES

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
1 cup brown rice
2 and ½ cup broth (chicken or vegetable broth)
2 large Italian sausages, sliced
1 large Spanish chorizo, sliced
1 medium red onion, sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup combined vegetables – snow peas, peppers, sliced pre-boiled potatoes, broccoli florets
¼ cup toasted almonds
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

1. Wash the brown rice twice with water, drain and set aside.

2. In a large skillet, over medium heat, add the olive oil. Saute the onions, garlic, celery, carrots till soft.

3. Add the sliced Italian sausages and cook till almost done. This will take about 15 -20 minutes. When these are nearly done, add the sliced Spanish chorizos. Stir fry for a few seconds. Add the combined vegetables . Mix ingredients around pan to pre-flavor the pan. Remove from pan and set aside.

4. Continue using the same pan. Set to medium-high heat. Add the butter. Then add the brown rice grains. Stir this around for around 2 minutes till the grains become puffy, and the nutty aroma starts to fill the room.

5. Add the broth. Stir to blend into the rice grains. Allow this rice mixture to boil. Once it’s boiling, stir rice a little so it doesn’t stick to bottom of pan. Turn heat down to medium. Cover and simmer over medium heat for about 28-30 minutes or till brown rice is nearly cooked. Now and then, stir the rice .

6. Finally, mix back in the sausages and vegetables. Incorporate well. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with almonds on top. Keep covered and turn off heat. Serve warm as a side dish or an entrée.

RECIPE NOTES: Although both brown and white rice are nutritious, brown rice has slightly more nutrients . Due to its characteristics, brown rice takes longer to cook than white. If desired, substitute long grain white rice for this recipe, following the same process and amount of liquid. White rice will take 18 minutes to cook.

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Elizabeth Quirino believes that “food brings the world together.” She loves to cook, develop recipes, photograph & write about her culinary adventures on her 2 blogs Asian in America & The Queen's Notebook. Outside the kitchen, Elizabeth paints watercolors, reads everything and ends every week with ballroom dancing. For great food stories find her on Facebook and follow Mango_Queen on Twitter.

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