Tonight we had a most wonderful "comfort" food meal.  Like many places around the world, we too are experiencing a most dreadful spring.  Last week was fabulous...out came the BBQ, sunscreen was applied, garden work was being done.  Five days...yes five glorious days.  Then the rain, wind and cold set back in...we are freezing!  I want to light a fire in the fireplace and wrap up in a warm blanket - Mercy!
So this post is about comfort food.  A step by step procedure.  I promise the Savory Rice Pilaf is coming....at the end of this post.
If you read my blog, you know in this house we do love our comfort food.  My absolute favorite comfort food is a simple roast chicken:  throw in half a lemon, a sprig of Rosemary, 4 or 5 garlic cloves, salt and pepper into the cavity.  Then coat the outside of the chicken with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 350 for about 2 hrs. - for a 4 lb. chicken basting occasionally. That is it - simple - and delicious!
With this roast chicken, I also sliced up some carrots, a drizzle of olive oil, a couple of splashes of Balsamic Vinegar, salt and pepper and threw them into the pan to roast as well.  Then after the chicken was removed, I used a flat spoon to remove any excess grease from the pan - now there was wonderful gravy drippings. Remove the carrots to an oven proof platter.
To the pan I added a handful of fresh asparagus to roast.  Turned up the oven to 375 degrees and roast for about 10 minutes.
Remove the asparagus to the platter of carrots - put in the oven to keep warm. (which is now turned off)
Then add 1 cup of chicken stock to the roasting pan, scraping up any brown bits.  Make a simple cornstarch slurry with chicken stock and slowly add the slurry to the drippings to make a savory gravy.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, then pour over the sliced chicken.
1 1/4 cups Basmati Rice (rinse in a sieve in cold water until the water runs clear)
2 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh or dehydrated mushrooms (I used dehydrated mushrooms, re-hydrate them in the chicken stock)
just over 1/4 cup chopped dried sweet/tart cherries
1 1/2  tsp. dry rubbed Sage
1 Tblsp. dried chopped celery leaves - or fresh
4 small minced garlic cloves
2 slices of prosciutto - chopped (or bacon)
2 tblsp. butter
a drizzle of olive oil
salt and pepper
Using a medium/large sauce pan, heat up 2 Tblsp. of butter and a drizzle of olive oil on low medium heat.  Add in the diced shallot, sauteing for 2-3 minutes.  Then add in the Prosciutto, continue to saute for 3 minutes.  Then add in the minced garlic, cherries, sage, celery leaves and season with salt and pepper.  Saute for 3 more minutes.
Add in the rice and stir for one minute.  Then pour in the chicken stock mixture with dehydrated mushrooms and bring to a simmer scraping up any brown bits.
Once simmering, lid on, turn down to minimum heat and cook for another 10-12 minutes until the rice is tender and all of the liquid is absorbed.  Turn off the heat and let sit 10 minutes.
We had this meal with the gravy poured over the so moist chicken, roasted carrots and asparagus and the savory rice on the side.  The sun was not shining outside - but it sure was in our household tonight! 🙂

Ina Gawne
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16 comments on “A SAVORY RICE PILAF”

    1. Thanks Shirley! I added the Prosciutto to this dish because I had two pieces leftover that needed using up. It turned out to be a great addition! 🙂

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May 22, 2012