My Favorite Rice Pilaf by Larry Andersen

My Favorite

Rice Pilaf

When my friend Bill got his first apartment he invited a bunch of us over for dinner. From his recently acquired James Beard cookbook he learned to make rice pilaf. Rich and buttery with lots of Bell peppers, it became his signature dish. I have over the long past years, enjoyed rice pilaf at Bills house many times.

I had already learned to make an oven-baked pilaf from Aunt Margie. Over the years I sometime made pilaf in the oven like Aunt Margie, and sometimes I prepared it on the stove top like Bill. From my sisters in-laws I learned to make pilaf Armenian-style with bits of pasta mixed with the rice. And I have I have tinkered with the recipes all the while.

From all of those experiences I have developed this, my favorite rice pilaf in its most basic form. I have also found that pilaf can be a catch-all dish that you can add just about any of your favorite or left-over foods. Add some slivered almonds for a nice crunch. Some frozen peas or peas and carrots add color and substance to the dish. Do you have some left over chicken? Shredded or chopped and added to the pilaf the once dish now become an entre. Let your imagination be your guide to some good eating.

Preparation: 45 minutes Life Experience Recipe
Serves 2 to 4 persons as a side dish
  1. Peel and dice a medium onion and set aside. Julienne of a green Bell pepper and set aside; julienne and equal amount of prepared roasted and peeled red Bell pepper and set aside. Peel and mince a clove of garlic and set aside.

  2. Heat frying pan and melt butter. Add the rice, orzo and onion. Fry and stir until the rice and orzo begin to brown and the onion turns transparent. Add the garlic, green Bell peppers and the roasted red Bell peppers; stir and fry an additional 3 or 4 minutes.

  3. Add the chicken broth and vegetable base to the rice mixture. Season with ground black pepper; stir to mix. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit, covered, for five additional minutes before tossing, garnishing with the sliced scallions and serving.

Here I have made the dish using roasted green and red Bell peppers. You certainly can use raw peppers with good results, but you should try it once with the roasted peppers and experience the increased flavor you get from roasting the peppers. See Roasting Sweet Peppers.

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Latest revision done February 2011
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