Monday, August 27, 2012


This week our Food Matters Project host is Jen from Small Kitchen College. Jen chose Mark Bittman's recipe for Crisp Rice Cakes with Stir Fried Vegetables and Chicken. Using rice cakes as  my inspiration I went on a web search. When I stumbled on a recipe for rice cakes and artichoke hearts I thought how good would that be? Then I read the recipe and found out that these rice cakes were stuffed with Manchego cheese, one of my favorite cheeses from Spain! Perfect.

My husband and I got hooked on Tapas during our time in Spain last year. I thought this might be a nice addition to our Tapas menu. While this sounded delicious, I have to say that this might be the BEST. BITE. EVER.

Artichoke hearts are sauteed with onion and garlic. Rice is added to the mixture along with hot chicken broth. It was like making a risotto. The recipe didn't say what kind of rice to use and I thought about aborio (as in risotto) but decided it might be too creamy so I used jasmine rice. After it was cooked you add Parmesan cheese and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. The rice mixture was firm and sticky enough to form a nice round rice patty. Now the fun part, form a golf ball size patty and fill it with manchego cheese. Flatten it slightly and roll it in corn meal. Be sure to use a fine corn meal, I used Masa Harina. The corn meal gives the outside a nice texture and extra flavor and crunch when fried to a golden brown.

Serve these hot. There are so many layers of flavors in each bite topped off by the melted Manchego. I post many recipe that I think are really good but these are at the very top.

Thanks for a great pick Jen. I don't think I would have ever made rice cakes and this combination will be on my tapas menu forever.

For the other members creative takes on the recipe click here.

Artichoke Rice Cakes with Manchego

1 jar artichoke hearts packed in water (not oil)
2 oz butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
4 oz rice (I use jasmine)
2 cups HOT chicken stock
2 oz grated fresh Parmesan cheese
5 oz Manchego cheese, very finely diced
3-4 tablespoon fine corn meal (Masa Harina)
olive oil, for frying
salt and ground black pepper
fresh flat leaf parsley, to garnish

Rinse and drain artichoke hearts. Finely chop.

Melt the butter in a pan and sauté artichoke, onion, and garlic for 5 minutes until softened. Stir in the rice and cook for about 1 minute.

Keeping the heat fairly high, gradually add the stock, stirring occasionally until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked - this should take about 20 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper, then stir in the Parmesan cheese. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Leave to cool, then cover and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the mixture into the palm of one hand, flatten slightly, and place a few pieces of diced cheese in the center. Shape the rice around the cheese to make a small ball. Flatten slightly, then roll in the corn meal, shaking off any excess. Repeat with the remaining mixture to make about 12 cakes.

Shallow fry the rice cakes in hot olive oil for 4-5 minutes until they are crisp and golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot, garnished with flat leaf parsley.

Serves 6

Recipe adapted from


Margie Larrazabal said...

lexi! way to use your artichoke hearts... i love this idea and i love how perfect your rice cakes look! such a beautiful presentation.

Meg said...

I am drooling so much right now. I fell in love with manchego in Spain too and it's only a sometimes treat here because it's so expensive. This sounds like a perfect way to make it worth it!

Lexi said...

Thanks Margarita! These were really good.

Lexi said...

Thanks Meg, Did you try Payoyo cheese in Spain?

Aura Caplett said...

Oh. My. Gosh. These sound amazing!!! We have a tapas restaurant in Grand Rapids that I haven't been to in ages. You just gave me the idea to recreate the experience of going there but have it at home! I need to entertain this weekend and I think I'll go with a tapas menu. Any other favorite tapas I should add to the menu? I'm all ears! :)

Aura said...

Oh...was also going to say that the manchego sounds great. I used to eat manchego with quince jelly on water crackers or good bread for a treat back in the day. Great choice in this recipe!

Lexi said...

Aura, these rice cakes are REALLY good. Give them a try. Check out the Tapas category on my blog for more of my favorites. A version of a Spanish tortilla with potatoes is nice and under Soups there is a gazpacho recipe that I like. Try the Shrimp Pil-Pil. It is so good with fresh bread. E-mail if you have questions or want more ideas.

Love manchego with quince!

Evi said...

These look delicious! A great little tapa, and I love the inspiration from other recipes!