Thursday, July 12, 2012

Classic Rice Pilaf and Little White Lies

You’re a great cook. You know it, and so do all your friends. There are no techniques or recipes you haven’t mastered, well, except for one… you stink at making rice. Sure, when it comes up in conversation you lie and say your rice rocks, and offer advice to your unsuspecting friends, but we know the truth.

It’s okay. You’re not alone. Cooking a perfect batch of white rice without a rice cooker can be a challenge. I attempted to solve this issue in 2007, when I posted “How To Make Perfect White Rice,” but if for whatever reasons you still can’t do it, no problem! We’re simply going to have you do what so many great minds over the centuries have done in these situations…give up.

That’s right, we going for forget about cooking rice on the stove, and show you the incredibly delicious and absolutely foolproof world of pilaf! Because it’s coated with butter first, and baked with less liquid, this almost magical recipe will give you magazine quality rice every time (and I’m talking about the good food magazines, not those ones that went out of business).

I’m showing a fairly classic version here, which includes the extremely optional ingredient, saffron. If you are not familiar with this exotic spice, follow this wiki-link to get more info, as the subtle taste is very hard for me to describe. By the way, it’s crazy expensive and you’ll only want a tiny pinch, for too much will dominate the palette.

You also want a high-quality, non-discount brand of rice. Cheap rice has lots of broken grains, which do not cook evenly. So, if there’s shame in your rice game, I hope you give this great rice pilaf recipe a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for about 6 servings:
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
2 cups white long grain rice
pinch of saffron, optional
3 cups good quality chicken stock or broth (or water if you must)
1 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
pinch of cayenne  
*wrap very tightly in foil, bake at 350 for 35 minutes, let rest 10 more, and then fluff!

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