I live in a neighborhood filled with Armenian and Lebanese businesses. Or, as I like to think of it, filled with Armenian and Lebanese food. Falafel (sadly, not available to me as nobody around here makes a gluten-free version), kebabs, hummus (oh, the hummus!), and, of course, rice pilaf. Unfortunately, many of the establishments in my ‘hood cook their pilaf with wheat-based vermicelli, so finding tasty pilaf is a bit tougher than it should be.
Hence, making my own. This recipe is fairly simple, and you can make the rest of the meal while the rice is cooking and resting. I like doing this in the oven, but you can do it on the stovetop if you prefer. I was discussing the recipe via Facebook with a friend; she talked about how her mother made pilaf…and there was no skimping on the butter! I try to be a little more health conscious these days, but do sometimes increase the amount of butter when I make this dish.
Seriously, butter. Use it liberally!
By June 2, 2013Published:
- Yield: 4 - 6 with leftovers Servings
- Prep: 15 mins
- Cook: 30 mins
- Ready In: 1 hr 5 mins
Baking the rice in the oven ensures a perfect pilaf every time. This gluten-free version makes enough for leftovers.
- 2 - 4 teaspoons butter or olive oil
- 1 cup onion finely chopped
- 1/2 cup celery finely chopped (optional, but so good)
- 2 cloves garlic minced (or to taste)
- 1 cup long-grained white rice rinsed
- 2 1/2 cups water or chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and thyme create a blend that suits your taste
- 1 handful pistachios or toasted slivered almonds
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat the butter or olive over medium high heat in an oven-proof skillet or pan until shimmering. Add the onion and celery and cook until tender, 8 − 10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.
- Add the rice, stirring thoroughly to coat in oil. The rice will be glossy. Cook the rice, stirring frequently, until it is lightly toasted — you want it to be browned, but don’t let it burn. This takes five to eight minutes.
- Add the chicken broth, bay leaf, and salt/spice mix , stir thoroughly, cover, and place in the oven for 15 minutes (I use a sheet of parchment paper between the lid and the pan to keep the moisture locked in).
- After fifteen minutes, remove the pan from the oven, and let sit, covered (no peeking!), for another 20 minutes.
- Garnish with nuts for serving.