RECIPE: Brown Rice & Corn Fritters with Easy Black Bean Salsa

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Corn is all over the farm stands, and my family just loves to eat it right on the cob. I however, get kind of bored with it. (I know...I know, stifle the gasp) And when I was at the farmer's market this weekend, they had a great deal on corn. I wanted to save half for eating on the cob, but I wanted to make something yummy and different with the other half. I found what I was looking for on eatingwell.com, corn fritters. They looked interesting, and they used brown rice which is all we eat at our house lately. But the comments were lackluster. It seemed the fritters did not have much flavor and the black bean carried the dish. I worried that if my daughter scowled at the black beans, then she would be left with a bland fritter.

So, I kicked up the flavor adding cheese and cooking the rice in chicken broth. I also used whole grain rice in the rice cooker versus instant,  But you can certainly use instant if you wish. I just think the effort is just the same in a rice cooker and the nutrition is that much better. My patties held together just fine, versus some of the reviewer's. Maybe because I used real brown rice? I doubled the recipe too, because I thought these would freeze well and make for a great lunch at work during the week with a small salad. If you have left over rice and left over corn on the cob, this is a great way to use them up and clean your fridge. In fact, I had one lonely left over corn cob in the fridge for a few days and I was able to use it in here and not waste food. We are all doing what we can these days to make that grocery trip last longer!

Brown Rice and Corn Fritters with Easy Black Bean Salsa
Makes 14-16 fritters

Ingredients:

Rice:
1 cup brown rice
2 well rounded tsp. mined garlic
6-8 chives or scallions, finely chopped
2 3/4 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme
fresh ground pepper

Fritter Mixture:
2 cups cooked brown rice
4 corn cobs, cooked in boiling water for 20 minutes and cooled to handle. Cut off kernels and discard cobs. Should yield about 2 cups of fresh corn
5 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup shredded Colby-Jack cheese (cheddar or even spiced cheese would be nice)
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups coarse corn meal
4-6 Tbsp. olive oil for frying (may need more as you go)
sour cream for garnish

Salsa:
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup tomatillo salsa
1/2 beefsteak tomato, seeded and chopped
1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

Directions:


In a rice cooker, add all the ingredients for the rice and mix. Turn on the cooker and cover. Cook until all liquid is gone and cooker clicks to warm. Add 1/4 cup of water, mix and cover. Turn off the heat and let sit. The rice will continue to absorb the water and soften more with the steam. This can be made hours ahead and just let sit, covered, on the counter top until ready for the recipe.

Cook the corn, cool, and cut the kernels off. Discard the cobs.

On a large baking sheet, sprinkle the cornmeal evenly in a layer. Set aside.


In a large bowl, mix the rice, corn, beaten eggs, cheese, breadcrumbs and seasonings. Mix with your fork, then with your hands until the mixture comes together into patties. Shape patties into 4" in diameter and lay on the cornmeal tray. Continue until all the mixture is used. Flip the patties over onto the cornmeal so that both sides are coated.


Heat 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Add 4-5 patties into the oil and brown slowly over medium heat. Flip over and brown on the other side. Drain on paper towels. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, taking all bits out so they don't burn. Add 2-3 Tbsp. more oil, heat and cook the rest of the patties. You may need to add more oil as you go both times. The rice absorbs a lot of the oil, but don't overdue it. You don't want oily patties. Keep the patties warm while you make the salsa. This part goes quick.


In a medium saucepan, add the tomatillo salsa and black beans and heat over medium heat until hot, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the cilantro. Heat through for a few more minutes and serve with the corn cakes and a dollop of sour cream.

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