Toasted Garlic Rice Pilaf

January 1, 2011

Looking for a great and tasty side dish with minimal effort? Well, look no further, you have found a winner. I’ve been making this for a few months, but haven’t had a chance to blog it until now. I’ve also converted this to an equally tasty Mexican rice and will do my best to share that soon. Back to this dish though. If you’re nervous about the 3 cloves of garlic, don’t be. The quick sauté, along with the 45 minutes of baking, result in a mellow garlic flavor that permeates the dish from Kelsey at Apple A Day. Oh, and if you’re a fan of crispy rice bits on the edges of the pan, you’ve one again. That’s Jim’s favorite part of this dish, so I’m sure I’ll be receiving regular requests for this one.


Ingredients:

  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 c. long-grain white rice
  • 2 1/2 c. chicken broth, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • squeeze of lemon juice

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375. Have a covered casserole dish ready.
  2. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and rice and cook until both are golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in one cup of the chicken broth, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  3. Pour the mixture into the casserole dish, cover, and bake for 25 minutes.
  4. Stir in the remaining 1 ½ cups chicken broth and bake, covered, for another 45 minutes. About 15 minutes before it is finished baking, stir in a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

I am an idiot. Some of you are nodding your head knowingly, thankful that I finally realized what you’ve known all along. I’ll remember that the next time I have extra baked goods to share. So, why am I making such a bold statement against myself? As most everyone knows, yesterday was Cinco de Mayo, and since we had the big feast this past weekend, I wanted to make something different than the usual tacos and enchiladas. Well, when I found Bitchin’ Camero’s recipe for her Mom’s Arroz con Pollo, I thought that, not only did it look delicious, but also was the exact type of dish I was looking for.

Again, you’re wondering why I am an idiot, right? Here’s why, Arroz con Pollo, “rice with chicken”, is considered the unofficial national dish of Puerto Rico, and is widely enjoyed in Latin America and the Caribbean, but really has nothing to do with Mexico, other than the fact that they both use the Spanish language. That, my friends, is why I am an idiot.

You know what though, I couldn’t care less. From the moment the sofrito started to sauté, the most wonderful smell wafted through my house to which the scents of paprika, cumin, and, saffron were added. This was my first time working with saffron, and if you’re tempted to skip it based on the cost, I have only one word for you: Don’t. It makes the dish. You can’t identify exactly which flavor the saffron is, but know that it’s in there and making everything taste insanely delicious.


Ingredients:

Rice:

  • 3 cups Arborio Rice
  • 2 cups Warm Water
  • Big Pinch of Saffron Threads
  • 1 tsp. Annatto Powder or Sweet Paprika

Sofrito:

  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 large Yellow Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large Red or Orange Bell Pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 slices dry rubbed, Center Cut Bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp Sweet Paprika
  • ½ tsp Salt

Chicken:

  • 8 oz. canned Tomato Sauce (not marinara)
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 1 Pilsner-style Beer
  • 4 cups Chicken Stock
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 1 Tbsp Salt to taste

Directions:

Rice:

  1. Place the rice in a medium-sized bowl. Stir the saffron threads and annatto powder into the warm water, then add the water to the bowl and give it a quick stir. Set aside.

Sofrito:

  1. Make the sofrito. Set a large (7.5 qt is best), heavy pot over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic, onions, bell pepper and bacon and cook for 5 minutes, or until the bacon fat begins to render out a bit. Stir in the cumin, sweet paprika and salt and continue to cook for another 5 – 10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and the pepper is soft.

Chicken:

  1. Once the sofrito is done, add the tomato sauce and chicken to the pot, stirring to ensure the chicken is coated, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, turning the chicken over every few minutes.
  2. When the chicken is mostly cooked through, add the beer and chicken stock and raise the heat to high. When the pot begins to boil, add the entire contents of the bowl with the rice. This may seem like a lot of liquid, but it’ll thicken up and the final consistency will be like a very wet risotto.
  3. Bring the liquid back to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Continue to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in the lime juice, salt to taste and let the pot sit for 5 – 10 minutes, uncovered.
  4. Serve in deep bowls with crusty bread or crackers. You can also garnish with jarred pimentos or pimento-stuffed olives (optional).

Quinoa Salad with Tuna

March 2, 2010

When I saw this recipe on Savory Spicy Sweet, I knew I wanted to give it a try. Quinoa is known for being a sort of “super food” since it’s low in calories, gluten free, and high in fiber, both soluble and in-soluble, and protein. We’ve had it hot many times as a side dish and main, but I had yet to try one of the cold versions I’ve seen so much of.

If you wanted to make this vegetarian, or simply do not care for tuna, I think it would still be delicious without, but since I had it on hand, I thought I would toss into the mix for some extra protein and flavor. This turned out great, and I am looking forward to finishing the rest throughout the week as a quick and healthy lunch on hand. I’m also excited to try different variations, i.e. rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and Edamame for an Asian twist, or maybe some chili powder, corn, and black beans for something a little south of the boarder.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • Coarse salt
  • ½ cup Red Onion, minced
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp Vinegar, Champagne or White Wine
  • ½ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • ½ cup English Cucumber, quartered and sliced
  • ½ cup Red Pepper, medium dice
  • ½ cup Grape Tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup Olive, Kalamata or Black, quartered
  • 1 pouch (6.4 oz.)Albacore Tune in water
  • ¾ cup Flat Leaf Parsley, finely chopped

Directions:

  1. Bring water, quinoa, and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat; cover, and simmer until tender and water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Combine onion, garlic, vinegar, and red-pepper flakes in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil until emulsified.
  3. Stir vegetables and parsley into dressing.
  4. Transfer quinoa to a large bowl, and stir in vegetables and vinaigrette. Fold in tuna breaking up any big chunks, but being careful to keep the bite sized flakes of fish intact. Season with salt to taste.

I found this recipe in a recent copy of Real Simple, and we loved it. I had never roasted shrimp before, so I was a little nervous when I saw the 15 to 20 minute oven time, as I usually sauté shrimp for about 3 minutes on each side to prevent overcooking them. I would recommend roasting for no more than 14 minutes. Everything comes together nicely, and would be a great meal to serve for company.

 


 


 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 pound frozen peeled and deveined medium shrimp, thawed
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400º F. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the rice and wine and cook, stirring, until the wine is absorbed.
  2. Add 2 cups water and 1⁄4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Simmer, covered, over low heat until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, 18 to 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, on a rimmed baking sheet, toss the shrimp, tomatoes, thyme, garlic, the remaining tablespoon of oil, and 1⁄2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Roast until the shrimp are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve over the rice.

This one comes from the recent issue of Everyday with Rachel Ray. I was good, but like many posted on RR’s site, it needed more flavor. I will be adding chicken broth, garlic, onion, and pepper for the next time around. Also, we don’t really care for chickpeas, but I have left the recipe as is for those who would like to stick with the original.


Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces wild rice (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 pound orzo pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • Half of a 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • Salt

Directions:

  1. Cook the wild rice according to package directions; transfer to a large bowl. Meanwhile, in a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the orzo until al dente; drain. Add to the wild rice.
  2. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the pecans and sage and cook, stirring frequently, until the nuts are toasted and the mushrooms are tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the peas and chickpeas. Add the vegetable mixture to the orzo mixture; season with salt.
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