Sunday, July 28, 2013

Brown Rice Pilaf

I've used this recipe a few times from Nancy Harmon Jenkins' excellent book The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook. I usually make it with a blend of wild and brown rice with the nutty flavor complementing the sweetness of the other ingredients. The only difference I've found from using a white rice is that the added time required to finish it.

Minced red onion

Chopped Marcona almonds and pine nuts

Sautéing the nuts

Toasting the rice in the onions

Homemade chicken stock

Final mix before serving

2 1/2 cups chicken stock (water could work too)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped blanched almonds (see almonds note below)
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion (red or yellow), finely chopped
1 1/2 cups wild/brown rice blend (see rice note below)
1 cinnamon stick (not Mexican cinnamon)
fresh-cracked black pepper
1/4 cup raisins (black or gold) plumped in hot water for 10 minutes

Almonds - if you don't have pre-blanched almonds, add enough water to a saucepan that hold the almonds and bring to a boil. Add the almonds and parboil for 30-60 seconds and drain. Put the almonds into a paper towel to dry and rub vigorously enough to remove the skins.
Rice - white rice works well too. Once you add the stock to the rice, it should take about 20 minutes to finish.

Heat the stock in a small saucepan to a simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, sauté the almonds and pine nuts in the oil, stirring constantly, until they brown but before burning. This took less than 5 minutes for me. Remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside.
To the oil in the pot, add the chopped onion and cook until translucent without browning - about 10 minutes. Stir in the rice to combine with the onion and continue cooking allowing the rice to toast to a brown color without burning. Once the toasted rice is well colored and giving off a nice aroma, add the hot stock with the cinnamon stick, seasoning well with the salt and pepper. Stir well bringing it back to a boil. Reduce the heat to as low as possible, cover and allow to cook undisturbed - 20 minutes for white, 40-45 minutes for brown rice.
Once the rice has absorbed the water, remove the cinnamon stick and stir in the reserved nuts and raisins before serving.

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