Serves 6 as a side dish,
4 as a main course
Most food contest judges (including, on occasion, ourselves) usually suffer from taste fatigue after testing the first 20 or so entries. The result is that often the simplest, freshest-tasting dish wins the big money-in this case, the $50,000 grand prize in a Raisins and Rice contest cosponsored by the Oldways Preservation & Exchange Trust in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Sun-Maid Growers.
The winner, Cynthia Aldape, a real estate agent in Houston, Texas, said the recipe evolved over several years, beginning as a salad and gradually working its way up to a substantial dish that can be either a side dish or a main course.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 pounds spinach, stemmed,
washed and spun dry
1 red bell pepper, cored,
seeded and cut into slivers (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 cups cooked white rice
(about 1-1/2 cups raw rice)
1 cup (8 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
Heat the oil in a large wok or sauté pan, add the garlic and sauté until barely golden. Add the raisins and sauté for 1 minute. Add the spinach and red pepper (if using), sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss just until the spinach is wilted.
Stir in the rice and feta cheese and cook, stirring, until all the ingredients are heated through. Season with more salt and pepper, if desired, and serve.
If serving as a main dish, start with Moroccan Tomato Soup* or Yellow Pepper and Pine Nut Soup*, and follow with Lemon-Almond Pound Cake* with Limoncello.
* These recipes are found in book.
The Best American Recipes 1999
The Year's Top Picks from Books,
Magazines, Newspapers and the Internet
Series Editors: Fran McCullough and Suzanne Hamlin
Houghton Mifflin Company, October 1999
Hardcover, $26.00, 228 pages
8 full-color photographs
Recipe Reprinted by permission.
This page created December 1999
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