Fruit and Nut Rice Pilaf
- 2 T. butter
- 1 T. olive oil
- 1 c. small diced yellow onion
- 1 c. small diced celery
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 t. minced fresh ginger
- 1 ½ c. medium grain brown rice
- 2 ½ c. chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 c. medium dice fresh pear
- ¼ c. dried cherries, coarsely chopped
- ½ c. lightly toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
- 2 T. chopped fresh sage
- 1 T. chopped fresh thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat sauce pan over medium heat and then add butter and oil. Add onion and celery and sauté for 5-7 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and rice and sauté for another 5 minutes.
Add broth or stock and bring to a boil. Cover; reduce heat to low and let cook for about 40 minutes.
Add pears and dried cherries and continue cooking for additional 10-15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Just before serving, stir in pecans and fresh herbs. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Dice: to cut food into uniform cubes
- Small dice ≈ ¼ inch
- Medium dice ≈ ½ inch
- Large dice ≈ ¾ inch
Chop: to cut food into pieces of random shape and size
Mince: to chop food into very small pieces
Learn More About Brown Rice
All rice comes in brown. Brown rice, a whole grain, is simply white rice with the grain’s outer layers left intact. Generally speaking, brown rice is chewier and more flavorful than its white counterpart. Each type of brown rice has its own unique characteristics:
- Short grain: A sweet and malty little grain, nearly round in shape that cooks up soft and creamy and remains tender even when chilled.
- Medium grain: Mildly sweet and nutty, the tender grains cling to each other when cooked.
- Long grain: Earthy flavor with very firm, springy grains that become hard when chilled.
Aromatic varieties: Very long grains have a popcorn aroma and a nutty, buttery rich flavor. Cooked basmati rice has dry, fluffy grains. Cooked jasmine rice has moderately firm grains with a smooth, creamy texture.
Brown rice stores best in a cool, dark place but will keep for only about 3 months. Refrigeration or freezing will extend its shelf life.
Brown rice may take longer to cook but needs less handling. Since the grain’s surface is covered by bran and not starch, rinsing and soaking isn’t needed. A rice cooker makes fluffy brown rice. No rice cooker? This oven and towel method also works very well:
- Combine 1 ½ cups brown rice, ½ teaspoon salt, 2 ½ cups (3 ¼ cups for basmati or jasmine rice) boiling water and 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in an 8-inch casserole dish. Cover the dish with foil. Bake in 375°F oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven, fluff rice with a fork and cover the dish with a clean kitchen towel; let sit 5 minutes. Remove the towel and let sit 5 minutes more before serving.
Since cooked rice is prone to bacterial growth, extra cooked rice needs to be refrigerated promptly. Limit the rice depth to 2 inches in the storage container and cover loosely in the refrigerator. Seal the container after the rice has cooled completely. Use or freeze within 3 to 5 days.Peggy Crum MA, RD
Chewy farro grains are delicious in this autumn-y salad. Recipe yields enough for dinner for 2 to 4 with some left for a couple of lunches. To do this, make the base with dressing, farro, and grilled veggies. Add fresh veggies to the base as you go.