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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Vegetable Rice Pilaf

This side dish is very good with a variety of meats or fish.  The vegetables cut into brunoise (very small dice) takes a little longer but its well worth the effort.  It brings a little crunch and color to an otherwise delicious but plain rice.  Its easy as it will cook in the oven.

You will need:  for 4 people
  1. 1 cup (200g) white long grain rice (you can use Uncle Ben's);
  2. 1 small onion finely diced;
  3. 1/2 zucchini cut into brunoise; i.e. tiny dice measuring 2mm x 2mm (use the parts with the peel - you want the green color);
  4. 1/2 medium carrot cut into brunoise;
  5. 5 fresh green beans cut into small pieces - about same size as brunoise;
  6. 350 ml of chicken stock;
  7. bouquet garnie;
  8. pat of butter;
  9. salt, pepper to taste
  • Bring the chicken stock to a gentle boil,
  • Heat oven to 175°C 350°F;
  • Place the small diced carrot in a deep chinois and immerse in the chicken stock for about 3 minutes.  Remove and set aside;
  • Do the same with the zucchini and green beans (do them separately as the green beans take longer to cook).  Remove and set aside with the carrots - at this point they can be mixed together - they will be added to the rice once it is cooked.
  • Sauté the diced onion in some oil until in becomes more translucent.  
  • Add the rice and cook it gently with the onion for a few minutes until it is coated in oil and more translucent (this changes the starch texture and allows the rice to absorb liquid more easily, giving it more flavor);
  • Add the bouquet garni;
  • Add the chicken stock and bring back to a low boil.  Cover the pot with a lid slightly ajar, or a piece of parchment paper cut in a circle shape and place in oven at 175°C (350°F)
  • Cook for about 17 minutes (check it to make sure it is cooked - if it is not and all the liquid is absorbed, add a little more liquid and continue cooking for a few minutes;
  • Remove from the oven and add the brunoise of vegetables and the pat of butter;  Taste and season to make sure it is ok; (keep aside - you can heat it up gently just before serving);
Tip:  You should always use 1.5 times the amount of liquid to rice.
Taste the rice to make sure it is cooked and well seasoned.
Brunoise chopping requires a little more work but it really adds a nice touch to the rice - everything is the same size and the crunch of the vegetables is a pleasant touch.

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