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Rice provides just the right stuff

When creating a plan for dinner, many cooks start with the protein; fish, beef, pork or chicken are the standard choices. Once we have decided on the protein we start to look at the side dishes.

The traditional dinner trilogy is protein, vegetable and starch. Restaurant menus are filled with these choices and most of us grew up eating meals like this. It’s true Americana, and when everything is in proper proportion we feel we are eating well.

Side dishes can make or break a meal. Think about Thanksgiving. The turkey may be the centerpiece, but it’s all about the side dishes. To qualify for a “best side,” it has to look delicious, smell wonderful, and have a great, complex flavor and texture.

I recently read an article about rice. It seems to be one of the oldest cultivated foods on record. The Chinese have uncovered sealed earthen pots filled with rice that have been dated more than 8,000 years old. That can get you thinking. Of course, rice is popular today and readily available at every grocery store, and inexpensive at that.

We’ve all had rice in many different dishes. Rice Pilaf is a common term found on restaurant menus and serves as an accompaniment to many dishes. The recipe I am featuring today has both brown rice and wild rice. Brown rice is simply the whole rice grain with only the inedible husk removed. This causes a nice, chewy texture and a rich, nutty flavor. Wild rice isn’t truly rice at all, but a long grain marsh grass native to the upper Great Lakes region. Be sure to rinse both rices thoroughly before you use them.

This recipe makes excellent use of the two rices and adds great flavor with the apricots and almonds. Give this a try, you will be pleased.



Apricot, Almond

Rice Pilaf

½ onion, small dice

¼ tsp cinnamon

1 Tbl unsalted butter

¼ cup brown rice, uncooked

¼ cup wild rice, uncooked

1½ cups chicken broth, hot

3 dried apricots, sliced

2 tbl almonds, sliced and toasted

2 tsp dried parsley

Sweat onion and cinnamon in butter for 4 to 5 minutes, do not brown. Add both rices and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Stir in hot broth and simmer for about 45 minutes until tender. When rice is done remove from heat, stir in sliced apricots and let stand covered for 10 minutes. Stir in almonds and parsley. Serve and enjoy!

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