Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Edith Pilaf

Everyone should have a go to starch side dish. I'm not talking about potatoes or corn.  Even though these are excellent options, I'm talking more along the lines of something a little unexpected. 

A starch that is not only easy to make, but also requires only a few pantry essentials. A starch that's versatile enough for casual dinners alone with your cat as well as a formal affair that require style and flair.  

I'm talking about Rice Pilaf. Yes, that vintage classic is back and better than ever.  

For some of you, you may automatically think I'm talking about the stuff in the little box with the Cable Car on the label. I'll admit, the stuff in the box is good, but take a look at the ingredients and you may think twice about making this for yourself or your loved ones. Monosodium glutamate?  Seriously?

Home made rice pilaf is delicious, is far more nutirious than the stuff in the box and is just as easy to make.  

Here's how I make it.

Rice Pilaf:

2 tablespoons olive oil (or butter if  you prefer)
1/4-1/2 cup chopped white or yellow onion
1 cup long grain rice
2 cups homemade chicken stock, heated (check the ingredients on the canned stuff*.  Did someone say MSG?) 
1/4 teaspoon salt

*I don't totally object to store bought chicken stock. Actually, there are some very good quality ones on the market. You just need to read the ingredients. When it comes to store bought, I like Trader Joe's Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth. And yes, I do keep a box in my pantry just in case I run out of homemade.

  • Add the olive oil to a heavy 3 quart saucier over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and saute until translucent - about 3-4 minutes.
  • While sauteing the onions, add the stock to a sauce pan and heat to just under the the boil over medium heat.
  • Add the rice and stir to coat each milky white grain with oil. Continue to stir for about 5 minutes until rice is golden brown.
  • Stir in chicken stock and bring to a boil.  
  • Stir to ensure rice and onions are well distributed and cover with a lid.
  • Turn flame to low and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • Turn off heat and let stand, covered, for five minutes.
  • Fluff with a fork (and only a fork).

Place rice in a French white porcelain bowl and serve.


I was recently asked if this dish could be made in a rice cooker. My answer?  No. Because the onions and rice need to be sauteed, I don't believe you can get this result from a rice cooker. However, if you want to give it a go, let me know. Post your results below.

This rice is delicious with poultry or fish. Adding fresh crimini mushrooms (no canned mushrooms, please) is also a nice alternative to this traditional favorite.

The next time you need a delectable starch side dish, turn to Rice Pilaf, it's what's for dinner.

Cheers,  Brad

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