The second annual Rice Festival in Belville was a wonderful success, and below are the first place winning recipes from the rice recipe competition.

Rice Festival First Place Winning Recipes

The second annual Rice Festival in Belville was a wonderful success, and below are the first place winning recipes from the rice recipe competition. The recipes are easy to make and are all quite delicious. The preparation beforehand is what takes the time. The rice pie recipe was entered but didn’t place, but it is definitely worth making, especially for guests.


Creamy Baked Rice Pudding with Royal Hawaiian Pineapple & Pear Conserve

This recipe also won Best in Show, won by Constance Reeves

Serves about 6.

1/3 cup uncooked short grain rice

½ cup granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons butter

1 quart milk

½ cup half-and-half

Spread uncooked rice equally in the bottom of a buttered baking dish.

In a bowl mix together sugar, milk, half-and-half, and vanilla.

Gently pour mixture over rice. Bake in a preheated 300 degree oven. Dot with butter and bake, about 2 hours. Remove from oven and let stand until slightly set.


Pears and Pineapple Conserve

8 cups Royal Hawaiian Pineapple

7 cups firm pears

8 cups granulated sugar

Juice of one lemon

1 box SureJell

Run fruit through meat grinder in large blades.

Put fruit and sugar in a large heavy pan with lemon juice.

Mix SureJell according to package directions.

Add fruit to mixture and cook about 3 minutes.

Jar and process in water bath for 10 minutes.


Spoon a generous spoonful of conserve over Rice Pudding mixture and enjoy!


Rice and Vegetable Salad

Serves 6. Make the day before for best flavor. Won by Hope Cusick.

Garlic Vinaigrette Dressing:

1/3 cup canola oil

1/3 cup rice vinegar or white vinegar

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

½ teaspoon dried basil, crushed

½ teaspoon dried thyme, crushed

1 large clove garlic, minced then smashed

Place all ingredients together in a jar and shake well. Set aside.

Salad Mixture:

2 cups cooked North Carolina white rice or white rice

1 ½ cups coarsely chopped red tomato

1 large carrot, grated

1 cup frozen peas

3 scallions, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

2 medium radishes, thinly sliced

½ red bell pepper, diced

1 stalk celery, diced

Baby Arugula leaves

In a clear glass salad bowl line the bottom of the bowl and half way of the sides with Arugula leaves to form a thin basket.

In another bowl combine together cooked rice mixed with vinaigrette dressing. Fold in and mix well, tomatoes, carrots, peas, radishes, scallions, celery, red pepper, and parsley. Pour into salad bowl over Arugula leaves. Cover and chill overnight.


Rice and Seafood Paella

Serves 6. Won by Hope Cusick.

Herb Blend:

½ cup chopped fresh parsley

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced then smashed


1 cup water

1 teaspoon saffron thread

8 cups chicken broth

¾ pound fresh shrimp, peeled, tails removed

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 links Italian sweet sausage, cut into 6 pieces each

1 large onion, chopped

½ red bell pepper, chopped

1 cup canned diced tomatoes, undrained

½ teaspoon paprika

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups uncooked North Carolina white rice or white rice

1-2 cups frozen green peas

12 mussels, scrubbed and debearded

2 mini lobster tails cut in half lengthwise

Prepare herb blend, combine first 4 ingredients, set aside.

In a large saucepan combine water, saffron, and broth. Bring to a simmer. Keep warm over low heat.

In a large skillet over medium high heat add 1- tablespoon oil. Add sausage and sauté 3 minutes. Remove from pan. Add shrimp, and sauté 2 minutes. Remove from pan. Lower heat to medium-low, add onion and bell pepper, sauté 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, paprika, and garlic cloves, cook for 5 minutes. Add rice, cook 1-minute, stirring constantly. Stir in herb blend, broth mixture, andsausage mixture. Bring to a low boil, cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add peas and mussels to pan, nestling mussels into rice mixture. Cook 4-5 minutes until shells open. Add shrimp and stir in. Remove from heat; cover with a towel and let stand 10 minutes.

Meanwhile in a pot of boiling water, cook halves of mini lobster tails until opaque. Drain and place in circle on top of paella.


Rice and Italian Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

Serves 2. Won by Hope Cusick.

1 acorn squash, halved and seeded

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 sweet Italian sausage link, uncased

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

½ cup North Carolina white rice or white rice

2 cups chicken broth

½ cup frozen peas

2 tablespoons fresh parsley

Microwave halved acorn squash for 8 minutes on high or until tender, cut side down in dish.

Heat 1-tablesoon oil in saucepan over medium. Add the sausage, cook stirring often until browned, about 4 minutes. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender, 4-5 minutes. Add the rice, paprika and stir. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium low; cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is al dente about 15 minutes. Stir in peas and parsley.

Preheat broiler. Fill halves with rice mixture, mounding in the center. Broil for 5-8 minutes, drizzle with a little olive oil.


Rice Pudding and Coconut Pie with Rum Raisins

1 cup dark raisins

¼ cup rum

2 cups cooked white North Carolina Rice or white rice

4 large eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1 13.5 ounce can Coconut Cream, be sure to use no-sugar added product

1 stick butter, melted

¾ cup all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup sweetened coconut, shredded

Ground cinnamon

Place raisins in a small bowl and cover with rum, let it sit for 30 minutes, then drain.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl whisk together eggs until foamy. Add coconut cream, sugar, and melted butter and whisk until smooth.

Whisk flour and salt together in another bowl and add to egg mixture, whisk to combine. Stir in vanilla.

Add coconut , drained raisins, and cooked white rice, mix to combine well. Pour into pie dish. Sprinkle top of pie with ground cinnamon . Set pie plate on a baking sheet and place in the center of the oven.

Bake for 45-55 minutes in a 350 degree oven until center of pie feels firm. Remove to a cooling rack. Serve warm or cold.


Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival, winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012, and placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing, and second place for her Sweet Blueberry Pepper Jelly in 2015; and has won various other contest awards for her blueberry cheesecake, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.