Cheesy Rice Cakes with Mushroom Ragout

Today, your second serving of Rice Cakes.

This post features the inspiration for Rice Cakes Part 1, my Grilled Cheese post , released earlier this week. In the previous post, I feature a trio of local tomato soups and delicious Cheese Stuffed Rice Cakes. Like this post, I include video and printed recipes outlining all of the delicious details. Plus, look at for the wine pairing info at the end.

rice cake in mushroom sauce

Every cool culinary idea I’ve ever had was inspired a chef. In this case, the cheese stuffed rice cakes in my previous post, were inspired by my friend Chef Chad Blackwelder.

Chad has cooked in a number of restaurants of note over the years and has owned several as well. Now Chad works with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. Chad’s job is promoting local products, produce and proteins to chefs, buyers and markets across the country. You can hear more about all he has done and his doing in this fun interview I did on his weekly Instagram Live show, Stove Side Chats. I come in just after the 2 minute mark and after bit of fumbling to get my phone set, our fun conversation begins.

“Tune in” to this great 20 minute interview show every Wednesday on the GotToBeNC Instagram feed at 2 pm to hear lots about North Carolina chefs, farmers and products.

Serving Rice Cakes for my first Chef-Driven Video Recipe of 2021

This year, my plan is to do more video cooking demos with chefs across the state. In each we’ll continue to cook with an array of great local products. Chad and I are both big fans of North Carolina’s own Tidewater Grain Co.’s Carolina Gold Rice. So, it made for a great fit to ask Chad to share a recipe made with Tidewater Rice. Chad also incorporates a lot of local from his Sanford, NC area farmers markets. Featured products include Carolina Mushroom Farm Mushrooms, fresh herbs and Chapel Hill Creamery Carolina Moon cheese.

Carolina Moon is also a big favorite of mine. You’ll remember, it was my cheese of choice in my last recipe post of 2020: Cheesy Rice Grits recipes I featured with my recipe for Country Ham Biscuits.

We filmed the video for Chad’s recipe just before the holidays, which explains any references to holiday meals. I am hear to tell you that Chad’s Mushroom ragout not only makes a delicious foil to his cheese stuffed rice cakes; but it is wonderful on pasta, or served as a sauce to any grilled protein. Serve over… you guessed it… Tidewater Grain Co. Carolina Gold Rice.

Rice Cakes & Ragout; a History of Tidewater Grain Co. too.

In addition to the cooking, I am thrilled that Tidewater Grain, Co. co-owner and farmer Tommy Wheeler could join in the conversation here offering a bit of the history of Tidewater’s NC-grown Carolina Gold Rice.

This time we filmed the video demo via zoom. Moving forward, I’ll film more in person. I’ll certainly plan to cook with Chad again, he’s a great cook and an excellent teacher. Thanks, too, to his lovely wife, Michelle, for working our second camera on the shot. Unfortunately, Zoom didn’t pick up her terrific shots – but we’ve all learned and next time know how to make this better.

At the end of the post, a second short video with a tip from Chad about a great Local Nc Wine pairing for this dish. The

That said, have fun watching this great video class. After we watched, Tommy and I both set out to create our own individual variations on the theme. You’ll want to do the same.

Rice Cakes Savory and Sweet

While I took a dive down the the cheese stuffed rice cakes rabbit hole, Tommy and the Wheeler clan recreated the recipe stuffing the rice cakes with NC crabmeat, direct from the coastal waters near the Tidewater Grain farm. Ummm, yes, please!

And then, just yesterday I was chatting with friends about Coddle Creek Farm’s wonderful line of Mama Young’s nut butters. It came to me to try a sweet version of these rice cakes. Stuffing them with Coddle Creeks Chocolate Peanut Butter soon – stay tuned. I’ll post results on my instagram and Facebook feeds.

Speaking of Coddle Creek Farms…

Where to buy: Tidewater Grain Company Carolina Gold Rice now available to the CLT area retail market at Coddle Creek Farms

I’m excited to announce that as of this weekend, Jan 16, 2021, 2 lb. bags of Tidewater Grain Co.’s Carolina Gold White and Brown rice will be available for retail sales at Coddle Creek Farm.

On Saturday mornings Tidewater’s Carolina Gold Rice will be for sale at the Coddle Creek Farm both at the Southend Market at Atherton ; and in Building C at the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market. In the Charlotte area, Tidewater’s Carolina Gold Rice is also available to the retail market through FreshList Clt.

Tidewater Grain Co.’s Tommy Wheeler with Coddle Creek Farm’s Steve Young

Here’s the Video Recipe

As you can see, the possibilities here are limited only by your imagination. So think about it as you watch this video recipe with Chef Chad Blackwelder and farmer Tommy Wheeler. So you can follow along as you watch, Chad’s printed recipe follows the video. You’ll find the method for cooking the Tidewater Grain Co. Carolina Gold Sticky rice, here. Then hop down to the end of this post to hear more from Chad about his recommended wine pairing.

Chapel Hill Creamery’s Carolina Moon Stuffed Tidewater Grain Co. Gold Rice Cake with Mushroom Ragout

For the rice

1 cup Tidewater Grain Co. Carolina Gold Rice

2 1⁄2 c. water
1 bay leaf
1⁄2 T. Kosher or sea salt

Bring water, salt and bay leaf to a boil, add rice and stir once. Return to a quick boil and then turn heat to low, stir once more and cover rice, cook for 25 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork, cover and allow to stand off the heat for 7 minutes. Distribute rice evenly on a sheet pan and let cool to at least room temperature.

For the rice cakes

cooked and cooled rice
a local egg
1⁄2 cup. panko breadcrumbs
1⁄4 cup. chopped, fresh herbs
Salt and pepper to taste
4 pieces of Chapel Hill Creamery Carolina Moon cheese

cheese and rice cakes

Combine the cooled rice, egg, panko, herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Allow the mixture to rest for about 15 minutes so the breadcrumbs can rehydrate a bit. Portion the rice mixture into 4 balls. Spilt each portion and stuff with a 1 oz. piece of Carolina Moon cheese. Tightly reform each into a cake, similar to what a crab cake looks like. Make sure that the cheese is completely covered and in the middle of each cake.

For the Mushroom Ragout

About 1 cup of your favorite dried mushrooms + 2 c. boiling water
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1⁄4 c. chopped shallots

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/5 – 2 pounds of local fresh mushrooms, brushed clean and cut or torn into large pieces ( Chad used fresh local mushrooms from Carolina Mushroom Farm in Willow Spring, NC. In the Charlotte area my local mushroom go-to is Urban Gourmet Farms*

2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

1⁄2 cup red wine ( Chad used a NC wine selection here: Jones Von Drehle Vineyards, 2017 Tempranillo – see the link to tasting notes and additional video at the end of this post.)
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary

1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 T. butter

mushrooms and herbs

Here’s What To Do

Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl and pour on 2 cups boiling water. Let soak 30 minutes, while you prepare the other ingredients. Place a strainer over a bowl, line it with cheesecloth or paper towels, and drain the mushrooms. Reserve the broth. Squeeze the mushrooms over the strainer and rinse until they are free of sand. Chop coarsely.

Heat the olive oil over medium in a 3 to 4 quart sauce pot and add the shallots. Cook, stirring often, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir together for about 30 seconds, until fragrant, then add the fresh mushrooms and turn up the heat slightly. Cook until the mushrooms begin to sweat, then add a generous pinch of salt and cracked black pepper. Stir for about 5 minutes over medium-high heat as the mushrooms continue to soften and sweat.

Cook until the mushrooms are well browned. Add the flour and continue to cook the mushrooms, stirring, until the flour is not visible, about 1 minute. Add the reconstituted dried mushrooms and the wine cook over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the liquid glazes the mushrooms, about 2 minutes. Stir in the reserved dried mushroom broth, bring to a simmer, add rosemary and thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the surrounding broth is thick, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and the parsley, taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Keep warm.

To assemble the final dish:

rice cake in mushroom sauce

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a 10-inch skillet or nonstick pan, heat oil over medium high. Carefully add the rice cakes to the pan and cook until the bottom is golden brown. Turn rice cakes and place the pan in the oven for 10 minutes or until the center is hot and the cheese is melted. Portion 2-3 oz. of the mushroom ragout in 4 warmed bowls and top each serving with a rice cake.

Drink Local as you Eat Local

Pair Chad’s cheese stuffed rice cake and hearty mushroom ragout with a glass or two of his recommended NC Wine, Jones von Drehle Vineyards 2017 Tempranillo.

Click here to Watch and Listen to Chad chat about the Wine pairing; and then, Learn more and order this tasty Tempranillo online here, if you can’t find it in a local wine or bottle shop.

*Read more about Charlotte Hiram Ramirez of Urban Gourmet Farms in an article I wrote for Piedmont Culinary Guild, here.


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