This is more of a concept than a recipe but, for the sake of explanation, I'm writing it up like a recipe... With a change of spice profile and cheese, you can take these in any direction you want. When this idea occurred to me, I looked up what others had done with it and took bits and pieces of what little I found, twisted it up with what I had in the frig, and was pretty content with the results! I plan to do this every time I have extra brown rice around! And I plan to intentionally have it around!!
CHEESY BROWN RICE PATTIES - makes 5 or so "burger-sized" patties
Prep the veggies first - I used:
1/2 orange bell pepper
the better part of a small red onion, minced
1/2 a large carrot, shredded
1 large clove of garlic, minced - add after a few minutes
Heat 1 T olive oil in non-stick skillet. Add prepped veggies and cook, stirring occasionally, til they begin to soften. Add garlic. Cook til nearly done. Mix in:
spices - I used about 1/2 tsp crushed oregano, 1/4 tsp basil, 1/2 tsp parsley
a good handful of baby spinach, chopped - cook til wilted
Remove and cool the contents of the pan while you prep the rice and cheese. Leave skillet on cook top as you will use it to "fry" the patties.
Beat one large egg in medium bowl.
Add about 2 cups of cooked chilled brown rice - mix thoroughly.
Next comes the tricky part. Take half of the rice mixture and make 5 patty bases in the skillet. Make an even layer of shredded cheese to nearly cover each base. (I used finely chopped Provolone because it needed eaten and I was going for an Italian direction anyway.) Carefully place the rest of the rice mixture on top of the cheese to form patties. You'll have to force them into submission as they are prone to falling apart a bit. They WILL, however, bend to your will so stay determined!
Turn the burner to just above low and wait til the patties crisp up on the first side before you try to turn them. IF you try to flip before they're set, you will make a mess.....so DON'T DO IT! Some of the cheese may slide down and start to fry, too, but it will serve to help them stick together better anyway!
Flip when ready and cook the second side to a crispy finish. Cool a few minutes and EAT IMMEDIATELY!! Leftovers can be reheated/warmed in the microwave easily enough but they do dry out a tad.
Mexican version: BETTER than the original attempt!!
I kept the original veggies (with the exception of the spinach) and added a drained (small) can of chopped green chilies. The spice combo was the oregano with (and I'm guessing here because I am notorious for not measuring...) 1/2 tsp cumin, a scant 1/2 tsp chili powder, and a few cranks of freshly cracked black pepper. I had some Chipotle pepper white Cheddar cheese for the "middles" and that made them absolutely fantastic!! I'm thinking I'll try to use some of my jarred roasted red peppers, drained really well of course, in the initial veggie mix...and maybe some fresh jalapeno!! And cilantro, because I LIKE it! (I know, you do what you have to do with that!)
Another thought: Cooking the rice in chicken broth and using some chopped chicken in the patties... Of course, this leads me to more thinking.....someone should try minced ham with Swiss cheese!! Who needs bread!?! See, endless possibilities!