Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Mediterranean rice pilaf

You know us food bloggers, right? Always spot on. Night and day always scouring the net for the next Big Thing; continuously dining at the latest restaurants sniffing our for the up and coming trends? And even at home, we never eat the same thing twice. Oh no. Instead we spend our days confiting duck legs and extracting tomato water for that elusive Peruvian tomato risotto that only takes 2 days to make? 

Yeah, that's us. Let's take the week gone by. Yes, I've survived the nastiest break-up yet (better than I ever expected, I must say!) and rediscovered my appetite again. And yes, I've been going back to the same dish over and over again. Here it is. I've been having it with the Greek meatballs and sofrito, that Corfiot specialty that will be featured on the blog next. And on its own. And yes, there might have been days when it was the thing that saved me the day after a very heavy night before... (in case you're a Mormon, that means wine. A whole lot of it.) And it never fails to comfort.

Depending on your mood, the spices of pilaf will instantly transport you to East. Whether it's Middle of Far, is up to you. Therein lies the genius of this dish. Feel free to go crazy trying different variations and throwing in what ever left over veggies or herbs you might have lurking at the back of your fridge. Grate in a carrot, squeeze out he moisture and throw in the pan with the onion (coriander or mint really, really love carrot!)  That's the beauty of cooking:take a recipe and make it your own!

Personally I prefer the texture of basmati rice, but any long grained rice will work. Just make sure you follow the instructions on the packet as the liquid needed varies from one variety to another. 

As far as herbs go, use either parsley, coriander or mint. Or all of them. Let's face it: fresh herbs are like... well, sequns. Or re-runs of How I met Your Mother. Of bigasshairheavyrockstadionballades. We just can't get enough of them right?

Serves 4-6

Mediterranean rice pilaf:

1/3 dl oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
2,5 dl Basmati rice
5 dlchicen (or vegetable) stock
1,25 dl raisins
salt (to taste)

to serve:

100 g pine nuts
a large handful of parsley leaves, chopped (or coriander. Or mint. Or my fave: A large handful of chopped parsley leaves and half the amount of that finely chopped mint leaves)

Sauté chopped onions in the oil in a pot. Then add the spices and let them come to alive for a couple of moments. Add rice and, stirring every now and then, let it toast until the kernels start getting a bit of colour and start releasing that nutty aroma (that will take about 5-7 minutes). Add raisins and then the stock.

Bring the heat down and leave the rice to cook (covered) until the liquid's been absorbed (12-15 minutes).

Remove the pot from the heat, fluff with a fork, add the pine nuts and the herbs, cover with a tea towel and then top it of all with a lid. Leave to sit for another 10 minutes.

Check the taste,season as needed and serve.

Makes an excellent side dish for Greek meatballs, stifado, lamb chops Al-Andaluz or Marka hloua, that Tunisian classic. Or hey, for sofrito! Recipe for that one coming up next so stay tuned!




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