An impromptu invite to a friend’s for dinner was the reason for this dish. I had never made a rice pilaf before, and did not have time to run to the store for anything…so I needed to have all the ingredients on hand. Hmmm…after looking in the fridge and pantry…here are the ingredients I found:
- Frozen Peas
- Feta Cheese
- Turmeric (straight from Africa – thanks M& D)
- Veggie Broth
- Pine Nuts
Having never made a rice pilaf before…I have no idea whether these are pilaf-appropriate ingredients…however, they worked for me. I think I may have popped the rice grains a little too much – making it into an almost risotto-like pilaf.
Start with butter. (Almost everything I cook includes the line: “Start with butter”…what…? That could have almost been an alternate title for the blog…hmmmm)
Then add chopped onions, I had two onions, red and white, so I used both.
Mmmmmmmmm…onions…! I think onions belong in almost everything. I know there are some onion-haters out there…(you know who you are) but I don’t understand how you can not like something that is essentially the flavor basis for everything. Here’s an example: “I hate onions, but I love Cool Ranch Doritos”. Oh really – did you know that the top flavor ingredient in Doritos seasoning powder is…onion!?! If you’re adverse reaction is perhaps limited to raw onions…I can offer you a little sympathy. They can be strong, and they have a bite…and it can take some time for them to grow on you – I recommend starting with very thinly sliced red onions…maybe on a sandwich…but puhlease…don’t use a blanket statements regarding your hatred of onions. They are in everything, and are like the guest who you always invite to the party because you know that no matter who else shows up…they can make it the greatest party in the world. Not that I feel strongly about onions or anything. Moving on.
Also, cooking onions makes the kitchen smell like home to me.
So…there are some pictures missing. This happens frequently. I get too busy cooking, and forgot to take photos. Steps that were photographically missed:
- Adding of garlic to sweating onions
- Adding of rice to pot to pop the starch…just a bit
- Adding of turmeric, other spices and herbs and of course, the vegetable broth
Bring the pot to a boil and then turn down the heat to low and let the rice simmer away for 30 minutes or so. I also skimped on the broth, as I couldn’t imagine it soaking up more than 6 cups of liquid.
Visual representation of *patience*. Resist all urges to lift the lid and peak at what is going on inside.
When the rice is nearly done, start toasting the pine nuts. Don’t walk away from the stove. I did and almost ruined 3/4 of a cup of pine nuts. I repeat, don’t walk away from the stove. At first, it’ll feel like there is nothing happening…and then all of a sudden, a toasty aroma will waft up and by the time you’ve processed what that delicious smell means…you will have come very close to burning at least 1 side of every pine nut. Give the pan a shake often…and don’t walk away from the stove and you’ll be fine.
Again, missing pictures. Her’s what you missed:
- Stir in frozen peas, the residual heat is enough to thaw them and warm them through
- Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper, etc.
- Stir in toasted (not burnt) pine nuts…pay not attention to the few that look a little beyond ‘toasted’
- Stir in crumbled feta
Pour all of this into a dish, sprinkle with a few more pine nuts and feta crumbles and serve immediately…or in my case, cover with foil and transport very carefully in the rear-mounted basket on your bike and ride very carefully to your friend’s for the dinner party, cringing all the way at every lump, pothole, curb and seam in the road.
Consensus: The feta makes the dish – don’t skimp!