Wild Rice and Mushroom Casserole (Serves 12)
2 1/4 cups vegetable, mushroom or chicken broth or stock
Fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups wild rice, rinsed
10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
450g sliced mushrooms (about 11 cups), preferably a mix of different kinds
3 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and chopped
140g baby spinach (about 4 cups)
7 fat garlic cloves (4 chopped, 3 finely grated or crushed into a paste)
1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 (400g) cans white beans (7 cups)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (or basil)
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 1/2 cups panko or coarse breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Flaky sea salt, for garnish
Taste broth; if bland, season to taste with salt. In a medium pot, bring broth to a boil over high heat.
Stir in rice, lower heat, cover and simmer until just tender, about 40 minutes or according to package directions.
Fluff rice with a fork, cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, sauté vegetables: In a large, heavy skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat.
Add half the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until brown and crispy, about 8 minutes. Adjust heat as needed to prevent burning.
Transfer cooked mushrooms to a plate and sprinkle lightly with salt.
Repeat with remaining mushrooms and another tablespoon oil, adding more oil to the skillet if it looks dry.
In the empty pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat.
Stir in leeks, fennel and 1 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring, until soft but not browned, about 8 minutes.
Stir in spinach, chopped garlic, tomato paste and red pepper flakes, and cook until garlic starts turning golden, another 2 minutes.
Remove pan from heat.
Heat oven to 200 degrees, and oil a 23-by-33-cm casserole dish.
In a blender, purée 2 cans beans with their liquid, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 grated garlic clove, and salt to taste. (If your beans are unsalted, they might need more than you’d think.)
Stir bean purée, remaining whole beans (drained), mushrooms, cilantro, parsley and cooked wild rice into skillet with vegetables. Taste and add more salt or lemon as needed; it should be well seasoned. Scrape into prepared baking dish.
In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, rosemary, lemon zest, remaining 2 grated garlic cloves and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Stir in 1/4 cup olive oil and Parmesan, if using.
Sprinkle evenly on top of casserole and bake until golden, 20 to 30 minutes.
Let cool slightly before serving, topped with flaky sea salt.
The New York Times