Easy to make and spectacular to serve, this rice the perfect accompaniment to any curry or veggie stew. Or to serve alongside an array of Tapas or Mezze type spread to make it more substantial.
One of the things I particularly particularly love about this rice pilaf/paella thing is that all that you need to do is add stock and let the rice simmer away whilst you get on with other meal prep, which makes this ideal for when you have guests arriving. All you need do is remembered to add the peas for the last 5 mins of cooking.
I like to make this in a heavy cast iron casserole that I was given as a present. It’s a Le Crouset look-a-like which according to the gift giver was a total snip in comparison to the real deal.. and I have to say so far it has performed just as well. I do appreciate that this kind of cookware is a bit *next level* for many people, but don’t worry. If you don’t have a wide, heavy casserole dish, use the biggest saucepan you have, but make sure to keep an eye on it to ensure the rice cooks through. Also, bear in mind that it will need a separate serving bowl.
The trick is with a Pilaf, or any rice that is made using the absorption method is to first sort of level out the rice, I give mine a good shake, so it’s all flat in the pan. Then, add the liquid until it sits just to the knuckle of your pointer finger. This method works with pretty much any quantity of rice. I don’t know why, but it does. The other trick is, once you have brought the liquid to a simmer, turn the heat down loooow and put a lid on. Do. Not. Peak. for 15-20 mins. You want all the lovely steam building up to absorb into your rice. You don’t want it escaping out into the kitchen.
If you’re making a pilaf or paella thing, you might want to accidentally on purpose let the bottom layer catch and crust up just a bit. It’s a delicious and crunchy layer to be prized carefully from the dish & fought over by the diners.
This recipe is enough for two greedy people on it’s own. Double it & serve as a side dish for 4-6 people.
- 200g short grain rice, or a mix of rice, spelt & barley
- 1 pointy red pepper, diced
- 1 leek or one onion, finely chopped
- 7 -8 mushrooms diced (optional but nice)
- 1 small chilli, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 10 strands saffron
- 1 cup frozen or fresh peas
- Other veggies would be nice too: corn, carrots, zuchinni added at the end....
- 1 -2 Tbs Olive Oil
- 1Tbs Vegetable Boullion or Stock Powder dissolved in 300ml boiling water
- 1/2 cup white wine
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- In a large casserole that has a lid, or a wide saucepan, saute the leek or onions, garlic, chilli & red pepper until the onion is translucent in the olive oil.
- Add the mushrooms and saute for a moment more.
- Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil.
- Add the white wine & stir.
- Give the pan a shake so that all the rice & veggies are in an even layer on the base of the pan.
- Stir the saffron into the boullion stock, then add the lot to the rice mix in the pan, ensuring that the liquid only sits one knuckle height above the rice.
- Bring to a simmer, then put the lid on. Turn the heat down very low.
- Leave for 15 mins. Do. Not. Peak!!!
- Now, carefully open the lid & check. If there is too much liquid, put the lid back on for another 5 mins.
- Quickly add the peas, and any other tender veggies you want to pretty the top up with & add the lid again for another 5 mins.
- Sprinkle some fresh herbs such as chopped parsley or basil on top if you like, then serve.