Brown Rice Pilaf
Adapted from two or three different sources.
This is one of my favorite side dishes, and also makes a great lunch. The brown rice is packed with nutrients, filling, and inexpensive. The key is to allow the pilaf to slowly cook in the oven (covered), as brown rice takes a very long time to fully hydrate. Lots of flavor layering going on as well. A nice rich stock, herbs, aromatics, and black pepper work their way into the rice, while fresh scallions, pecans, and golden raisins add interesting flavor and texture components at the end. Use standard home made chicken stock for a lighter dish, or a rich roasted stock for heartier meals. The amount below serves 6-10 people depending on use (side/main dish) and how hungry you are.
14oz Long Grain Brown Rice
1/2 Medium Yellow Onion - Finely Diced
Black Pepper - To Taste
1/4-C Dry White Wine (e.g. Sauvignon Blanc)
3-C Good Quality Homemade Chicken Stock - Warm
Kosher Salt - To Taste
1 Turkish Bay Leaf
1 Sprig Fresh Thyme
6 Whole Chives
1 3" Length of Celery
1/3-C Finely Sliced Scallions
1/2-C Lightly Crushed Pecans
1/2-C Golden Raisins
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Heat the stock in a pan to a simmer and add enough salt so that it tastes slightly "salty". It's important to have a little extra salt when cooking grains to fully bring out their flavor.
Melt the three tablespoons of butter in a 3qt saucier over medium-high heat. Add the brown rice and toast the grains, stirring them often. Add the finely diced onion and black pepper - cook long enough to soften the onion. Deglaze the pan with the wine, and reduce until almost dry. Add the warm stock, herbs and celery and bring to a simmer. Cover, and place the pan in the over for 50 minutes. Do not peek at or stir the pilaf whatsoever! At the same time, place the pecans in a dry skillet in the oven as well until toasted and fragrant (remove them to a small bowl when finished).
Remove the pan from the oven and allow to sit (covered) for 5-10 minutes. Remove the cover, discard the herbs and celery, and fluff the pilaf with a fork. Stir in the scallions, pecans, and raisins while the pilaf is still hot.
*Every oven and bag of rice is different. If the rice is cooked but there is still some moisture in the bottom of the pan, place the uncovered pan in the oven and check every 5 minutes. If the rice is not done yet and there is moisture in the pan, cover the pan and return the pan to the oven.
Nick ~ "Egg whites are good for a lot of things; lemon meringue pie, angel food cake, and clogging up radiators." - MacGyver