It's THAT time again-to clean up my fridge. Trav has a thing with casserole; he hates it without a verbalizable reason. So every time when I am about to make this dish, I need to say: Honey, I'm making the oven rice again! Yet Gratin is truly a subcategory of casserole. As far as I understand, every casserole dish thrown into the oven has bubbly, golden-brown topping (made of cheese and/or bread crumbs) as the outcome could be called Gratin.
So I started with a container of steamed rice, which is a staple of our leftovers. I also gathered the last cube of Japanese curry form the fridge's compartment and a frozen link of chorizo sausage. Let the assembling line begin!
The rice part:
Chop onions, garlics, carrots, cabbages (you can certainly use something else, such as peas, corn kernels, celery, or bell peppers) into fine cubes, set aside.
Heat up the pan and add a bit oil on it; discard the case of the sausage and torn the meat into the similar size of the vegetables; adding all of the vegetable mixture onto the pan after the sausage turns slightly brown. Add a bit flour into the mixture and stir well at this time.
Add one can of chicken broth and a cube of Japanese curry, and then the rice.
After all of the ingredients are combined well, the texture would turn risotto-like, starchy- looking. Adjust the seasonings and set aside.
Finish it in the oven:
Prepare a casserole dish (with a shallower depth and wider-opening face). Grease the bottom of the dish very slightly and dump the rice mixture into it. Preheat the oven to 380 degree. Sprinkle your fav cheese generously on the top of the dish (I used pepper jack, smoked cheddar, and parmesan, which were the only three cheeses I had at that time). Add some herbs if desire. Bake it for 15-20 minutes. For golden-brown result, crank the heat up to 390 (or 400) degree after the first 15 minutes for another 5 minutes/or you can simply use broil. Please keep an eye on it at this stage of cooking; you want a golden-brown topping instead of a burnt one.
If you like comfort food, you would love this dish!
p.s. If prefer more chewy. starchier texture of rice, you can use risotto rice instead. Yet it would be more expensive alternative, I think. Even for just using the regular sushi rice, the result is quite starchy and satisfying.