Creamy Bacon Rice Casserole

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Creamy Bacon Rice CasseroleThere comes a time in everyone’s food life when you run into a dish that is so wrong that it’s right. There’s little about this casserole that makes any sense. Curried rice with a béchamel sauce? Cooked avocado, Italian sausage, soy sauce, and mozzarella? Long ago, the Japanese gleaned this dish idea from a Italian family named Doria—perhaps inspired by lasagna? Then, the Japanese culinary machine went into overdrive. Just make it. Allow complete and utter surprise to overwhelm your taste buds.

  • Yield: 6 to 8 Servings
  • Total Time: 1 Hours 15 Minutes

Ingredients

WHITE SAUCE:
  • Tbsp (½ stick)
  • butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, diced
MEAT FILLING:
  • ½ lb bacon, diced
  • ½ lb Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 2 tsp sweet curry powder
RICE FILLING:
  • ½ cup carrot, shredded
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
How to Make It
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. To make the white sauce, place a skillet over medium heat and add butter. When it has melted, sprinkle in the flour and whisk it to combine completely.
  3. Continue to whisk and cook the mixture for 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk while continuing to whisk briskly, to ensure the sauce is smooth with no lumps. Stir in salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Fold in the diced avocado and set aside.
  4. To make the meat filling, place a separate skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and sauté until just browned, about 6-8 minutes. Add sausage and continue to sauté for another 8 minutes, or until the sausage is browned. Be sure to break up the sausage into small bits as you sauté. Add curry powder and stir to combine. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meats from the skillet to a bowl, leaving some of the flavored oil behind, and set aside.
  5. To make the rice filling, place the same skillet over medium heat. Add the carrot and sauté for 4-5 minutes, or until the carrot is soft. Add the scallions and continue to sauté for an additional 3 minutes. Add the rice and garlic, and continue to sauté for an additional 5 minutes, or until the rice has warmed through and is light brown in color. Stir in the soy sauce.
  6. To assemble the casserole, spread olive oil across the bottom and sides of a baking dish. Place the fried rice at the bottom and flatten into a consistent layer with the back of a spoon or a clean hand. Scatter the meat filling atop the rice, then evenly pour the white sauce over the top. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
  7. Transfer the baking dish into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the mozzarella cheese is completely melted and just beginning to brown. Remove the doria from the oven, and serve hot, directly into intrigued diners’ bowls.
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