27 May 2014

Foodie Tuesday | Lemon Rice Pilaf

You know how they say that Mom's cooking is good, but Grandma's cooking is ALWAYS better? Probably because Grandma's cook with love, and sometimes lard, and that just makes everything more delicious.

As the resident chef here at the Money Pit, I don't have much competition in the cooking department from my own mother. It's easy to win when you're the only one at the gate. But on Daryn's side, I have a formidable opponent in his stepmother, who dominates the crown of "Best Chef" in the family with good (and well-deserved) reason.

One of her signature dishes that tips the scales decidedly in her favour, is this little ditty: lemon rice pilaf. Simple, nutritious and so, so delicious, it blazed a path straight to the heart of the Boy when he was just a toddler and has remained there ever since. And Grandma knows what's what when it comes to keeping that crown: lemon rice pilaf makes an appearance at every major family function, and our love just grows and grows and grows.

Preparation: 5 minutes | Cooking Time: 25 minutes | Serves: 6-8
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, finely diced (roughly 1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice*
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • zested rind of one large lemon (roughly 1 tbsp., compressed)
  • juice of one large lemon (roughly 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped flat leaf parsley, loosely packed
  • 3 tbsp. salted butter
Cooking Directions:
  1. In a heavy sauce pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions begin to soften and turn translucent.
  2. Add rice and stir to combine thoroughly with the onion, and coat in oil. Allow to cook for 20-30 seconds or until the rice starts to "snap".
  3. Add chicken stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes (*if using brown rice, which is also delicious in this recipe, cook for 35-40 minutes.) Stir occasionally to prevent scorching (I do every 3-4 minutes.)
  4. When rice is tender, remove from heat. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice and pepper. Stir to combine, then let sit for 5 minutes for the juice to be absorbed. Stir in butter.
  5. Fold in the chopped parsley just before serving. Pairs beautifully with roasted salmon (or any fish really) and if you ask the Boy, it's just fine on its own as a meal, full stop. 

I should tell you that I've modified the recipe a little bit. If I was being completely faithful to my mother-in-law's recipe, I would use vegetable oil versus olive and reduce the lemon juice to 1 tablespoon. But we love it lemony and, you know... I have to put my stamp on things. So I jacked up the lemon to suit, but you can make it either which way. Whatever you like.

Also the chicken stock can be exchanged for vegetable if you've got Veggies in your family or if that's just your bag (baby.)

Finally I should tell you about the real beauty of this dish: it can be served hot, warm or at room temperature: it's perfect at any temperature. My tip for the perfect spring brunch: chilled poached salmon, room temperature rice pilaf, soft scrambled eggs, blanched asparagus and cold cucumber salad. OMG MMMMMMM. So delicious, you guys. Seriously. You can trust me.