In honor of our Class of the Month, Cooking 101, we’re pleased to present this main-dish dinner perfect for Feeding the Family. Rice Pilaf is rice, but with oh-so-much-more.
When you add meat to the rice pilaf, it can be a meal in and of itself (see the picture above, where we add a combo of ground beef and lamb to our pilaf. Luscious! Think of it as a “hamburger helper,” but Hipcooks style!
It’s also easy to skip the meat, and the rice pilaf can be a vegetarian meal, or wonderful side with fish, or with barbecued meats. The recipe below is the meat-free version so that we can pair it with protein in these 2 fun spinoff recipes!
Be your own mix-master and create your own riffs with this recipe.
Whereas most rice is cooked with water, a Rice Pilaf, we like to say, is cooked with Love. Follow along with our fun pictorial tutorial:
Step one is to sauté garlic and onions in olive oil: they’ll impart their flavors to the …
…lucky rice! The first thing the rice will absorb is the wonderful onion/garlic olive oil. Yum! “Toast” the rice in the pan, as it absorbs any and all liquid.
Next, hit it up with some wine. Some for you, some for the pan. And then, add enough water or chicken stock to cover the rice completely. Once it hits a boil, turn down the heat to simmer, and let that liquid absorb.
Depending on your raisin persuasion (some people love, some don’t), add a handful of golden raisins,
salt, lemon, chopped parsley and cook to finish.
As a final gesture, we add lots of chopped dill, freshly toasted pine nuts, and, because we had them, a nice sprinkling of pomegranate seeds for color, sour flavor and texture.
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
½ pound ground lamb or beef, optional
1 cup basmati rice
1 cup white wine (reserving the rest for yourself)
1 cup water (or chicken stock)
½ cup golden raisins
1 large and fluffy bunch of dill, chopped
a generous handful of freshly toasted pine nuts
a generous sprinkling of pomegranate seeds (or use dried cranberries)
please have plenty of the "Hipcooks Trinity" to hand: olive oil, lemon, and Maldon salt.
Heat up a large saute pan with a swirl of olive oil. Sautee the onions and garlic until translucent. Add the ground meat, if using, and cook for a minute or two, breaking up the meat with your cooking spoon. Next, add the rice and toast it for a few moments, until the pan becomes dry — an indication that the rice is soaking up all that goodness! Once you've passed that test, allow the rice a nice reward of a small glass of wine to absorb next. Include pouring some for yourself, you're doing great!
When the pan is ready (the wine has been absorbed/reduced), lower the heat and add the water and raisins. As this cooks and absorbs, the raisins will plump beautifully, and the rice should be just al dente when finished.
Here comes the next reward: taste and play with The Hipcooks Trinity. Add the dill, pine nuts, and pomegranate seeds. You'll have rich, robust rice that is toe-tappingly delicious.