19 January 2011

Stovetop Peach Rice Pudding

My pantry is too stinking deep.  Sometimes I get a little paranoid about the dusty food urchins that dwell in those dark recesses.  Like the ridiculous stockpile of canned organic pumpkin which I'm pretty sure I bought not because it was on holiday sale but rather because the labels are so cute and I'm a sucker for pumpkins.  Or the Eagle Brand milk I fetched for the daughter who had her cap set to make lemon meringue pie but then got hopelessly distracted by the love of her life... umm, how many years ago?  Then there's the veritable school of canned salmon; the plethora of exotic salsas and artisan jams nabbed on the cheap at Tuesday Morning; the chickpeas... oh heavens, the chickpeas.  

So Many Chickpeas. 

You get the picture.  Is it like this in your world?

But I am all Januaryish determination: all that stuff is coming forth into the light of Judgment Day, either to be transformed into something yummy or condemned to everlasting disposal.  Yes indeedy, I will wipe those shelves clean before the first daffodils of spring appear.  And I do here vow to greet that day with no chickpeas. 

Thus committed, I see right away that I must begin to come to terms with All This Rice. Golly.  I  must have bought the giant bag at Costco... twice.  Woops.  So... rice, what?  I remembered a huge can of sliced peaches (the Costco biggie-sized can) left over from a church meeting.  And wasn't there a half-gallon of almond milk in the back of the fridge that was within hours of its best-by date?

So, voila... I made up this recipe for peach rice pudding.  Now, I don't just love canned peaches on their own, but their satiny syrupy smoothness works against the toothy texture of the spiced-up rice.  So aromatic, so creamy, so perfect for a cold January day.  This one's a keeper.

One note:  I've been putting Garam Masala in absolutely everything lately and I've yet to wish I hadn't.  But if you don't have it on hand, you could substitute whatever strikes your fancy -- maybe nutmeg or ginger -- or just use the cinnamon and call it good.

Stove-top Peach Rice Pudding

1/2 tsp salt
2 cups rice
1 half gallon carton of almond milk (or whole milk)
1 scant cup sugar or 2/3 cup honey
1 T vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
2 tsp cinnamon
2-3 cans of sliced peaches*, drained (or fresh peaches in season)

Bring four cups of water to a boil in a very large dutch oven (at least 6 quarts) or similar pot with a heavy bottom.  Stir in salt and rice, cover and simmer over low heat about 20 minutes, or until water is almost absorbed.

Add almond milk, sugar or honey, and spices.  Lift peaches from can with a slotted spoon and carefully add to rice mixture, stirring gently.  Increase heat and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and let simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.  Reduce heat to low, stir in vanilla, and continue stirring frequently until it begins to thicken, about 15 minutes longer.

Makes a lot, which is good because it's dandy to have leftovers for breakfasts and snacks.  Can be eaten warm or cold.

*Note:  I used about half the huge can of peaches.  With the other half, I made Nigella Lawson's Spiced Peaches.  Amazing, and super fast; can't wait to have them with a little goat cheese on crostini.  There was a lot of the spicy syrup left in the pot after I jarred the peaches, which I couldn't bear to throw out, so I quickly made it into syrup for pancakes by straining the syrup through a sieve, then adding enough water to the syrup to bring it to 3 cups liquid and pouring it back into the pot with 3 cups dark brown sugar and a spoonful of maple flavoring.  I let that simmer for about 20 minutes before pouring it hot into a jar.  Keeps in the fridge for a couple of weeks.  Deeelicious.