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Bulk up the pilaf, and it’s a meal / By The Washington Post
 
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MessagePosté le: Mer 1 Fév 2017 - 09:55
MessageSujet du message: Bulk up the pilaf, and it’s a meal / By The Washington Post
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Bulk up the pilaf, and it’s a meal / By The Washington Post







There are probably as many ways to approach rice as there are, well, cooks who love to make and eat it. At one extreme, you can throw a few ingredients into a rice cooker (or multi-cooker), press a button, let it do that set-it-and-forget-it thing and enjoy the perfectly acceptable side-dish result that emerges. At the other, you can take the kind of care someone like Philadelphia chef Michael Solomonov does: You can try to interpret all the variables, adjust as you go, and painstakingly create a crusty-bottomed, Persian-style rice that is downright wonderful.

In the middle is the kind of all-in-one pilaf that Sally Butcher writes about in her new book, “Persepolis” (Interlink, 2016). Named for the Middle Eastern cafe she runs in London with her Iranian husband, the book is a collection of “vegetarian recipes from Persia and beyond,” as the subtitle declares. Her pilaf, which she dubs Armenian Cheesy Rice, is a testament to the flexible approach she takes with cooking: She calls for “a good dollop” of this and a “big handful” of that, says that the halloumi she suggests can be swapped out for “any other cheese, to be honest,” and instructs that when you’re waiting for the pilaf to cook, “Resist the urge to peek. Go set the table or something.”

Here at The Post, we nail down specifics and strip out a lot of, well, personality from some recipes in the interest of clarity, but Butcher’s charming approach works fine for confident cooks. Her message: Making dinner can and should be fun, and especially if you basically know what you’re doing, you can be as casual about the specifics as you want to be.

Throw in a “handful” of parsley if you want, or measure out the 1/3 cup. Either way, if comfort food is what you’re after – and in the middle of winter, why wouldn’t it be? – that is exactly what you’ll get.

ARMENIAN CHEESY RICE

Servings: 6 to 8

This spinach-flecked pilaf, rich with halloumi cheese and crunchy with nuts on top, is Middle Eastern comfort food at its best.

The pan you use needs to have a tight-fitting lid.

Serve with a salad if you’d like.

MAKE AHEAD: The rice can be refrigerated for up to 1 week; it might clump when it cools, in which case you should stir in a little water or broth when reheating.

Find sumac, a lemony spice, in Middle Eastern stores or at well-stocked spice stores.

Adapted from “Persepolis,” by Sally Butcher (Interlink, 2016).

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 cups long-grain white rice, rinsed in several changes of water and drained

2 teaspoons dried dill

3 cups no-salt-added vegetable broth, homemade or store-bought

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest and 2 tablespoons juice (from 1 lemon)

½ teaspoon sea salt, or more as needed

1 pound 5 ounces fresh spinach, shredded

8 ounces halloumi cheese, shredded (may substitute queso blanco or part-skim mozzarella cheese)

1/3 cup chopped parsley

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed

1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted (see NOTE)

1 tablespoon slivered almonds, toasted (see NOTE)

2 teaspoons ground sumac, for garnish (optional)

Pour the oil into a large saucepan or deep, straight-sided saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until browned, verging on crispy, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the drained rice and dill, stirring to coat evenly. Add the broth, the lemon zest and juice, and the salt. Stir well, bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and add the spinach, working in batches if necessary: Fold some in and let it wilt, then fold in more.

Cover the pan with a clean dish towel and fit the lid on top. Cook undisturbed for 20 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.

Uncover, fluff the rice with a fork or wooden spoon and stir in the cheese, parsley and pepper. Taste, and add more salt and pepper as needed. Re-cover with the lid (no dish towel this time) and let the rice rest for a few minutes, so the cheese will melt.

Spoon the rice onto a platter; strew the pine nuts and almonds on top. Sprinkle with the sumac, if desired.

NOTE: Toast the pine nuts and almonds in a small pan over medium heat until lightly browned, shaking the pan frequently to avoid scorching, then transfer immediately to a plate to cool.

Nutrition per serving (based on 8): 330 calories, 12 g protein, 43 g carbohydrates, 13 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 500 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugar

Joe Yonan is the Food and Dining editor of The Washington Post and the author of “Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook.”

By Joe Yonan



http://www.dailyrepublic.com/features/bulk-up-the-pilaf-and-its-a-meal/


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