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Rice Pilaf

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Submitted By: Isaac Owsley
  • Town/State: Sonora, CA
  • Serves: 6 – 8 as a side dish
  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Cooking time: 35 minutes

Long a staple of Persian and Middle Eastern cooking, pilaf is a delicious side dish that unfortunately has acquired a thankless reputation and become overlooked thanks to its prominence as a boxed dinner. Pilaf can be so much more than the salty and gummy dish most people have come to know and in actuality takes no more time to make from scratch than it does to follow the directions on the box. Try this with grilled chicken breasts or as a light side dish alternative to potatoes or steamed rice.

Amount Measure Ingredients
4 cups white rice
1 – 2 cups vermicelli pasta broken into 1″-2″ pieces
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 tbsp crushed garlic
1 cup yellow onion finely chopped
1/2 cup celery hearts finely chopped including tops
1 cup slivered almonds
6 threads saffron soaked 5 minutes in 1 tbsp very hot water
3 tbsp butter or oil

To prepare:

Heat the butter or oil in a large heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat until butter is hot but not browning. Add in the slivered almonds and vermicelli and sauté until pasta and almonds just start to brown. Next, add in the garlic, onions, celery, and rice and stir constantly until rice is “cracked” (about half the grains will turn an opaque white) and the vegetables are translucent. Pour in the stock and the saffron water and bring just to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from heat and let rest 2-3 minutes then serve piping hot.