Let me be straight with you: This is not something I would normally make. It’s very casserole-y, for starters, which is not really my style, and it contains sour cream as a binder, something that always has and always will feel deeply wrong to me. (It’s been only recently—the past year or two, in fact—that I’ve been able to abide sour cream’s existence at all. I mean, it’s soured cream, people.) That said, I’ve been struggling a bit lately to find new and inventive meatless dishes (if you’re wondering how this is even possible, look at my recipe index—what haven’t I tried at this point??), since meat has been quite expensive lately, and when I saw a version of this dish on The Homesick Texan‘s blog, I thought I’d give it a try. I had sour cream on hand from another dish and I had cheese, so I only had to pick up some Vidalia onions to make it work (Walla Wallas would have been the more locally appropriate choice, but alas, they’re not in season). It took me a few bites to warm up to it, but once I did, I was sold; it was extremely filling, so I only needed a small serving to feel satisfied, and the sweet onions contrasted nicely against the heat of the chipotles.
That said, it still feels a bit like something you’d find at a church potluck in the South, so if that’s not your bag, you may want to check out the recipe index for another option. Recipe adapted from The Homesick Texan (THS); as below it makes about 6 servings.
• 3 cups cooked rice: 20 cents
• 8 oz. grated cheese (THS recommends Gruyère; I used a more budget-friendly combination of Swiss and sharp cheddar, but you could also use jack): $2
• 2 large sweet onions, such as Vidalia, chopped: $1.50
• 2 T oil: 6 cents
• 2 chipotle chiles in adobo (keep these in the freezer!), chopped: 10 cents
• 1/4 tsp ground cumin: 2 cents
• 1/4 tsp allspice: 2 cents
• 2 cloves garlic, minced: 2 cents
• 2 cups sour cream (I know…2 CUPS!): $1.69
• Salt and pepper: 2 cents
TOTAL: $5.63/6 = 94 cents/serving
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook until soft and starting to brown a little bit, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the sour cream, 1/2 cup of the grated cheese, rice, cumin, allspice, chipotle, and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in the onions.
Spread the mixture in a dutch oven, Pyrex, or casserole dish and top with the rest of the cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until bubbly and starting to brown a bit at the edges.