Monday, December 19, 2011

Hearty Rice Pilaf

I was making Lamb Bandit Style from Greek Cooking for the Gods - one of my childhood favorites whose realtime flavor actually matches my memory.  I had "bone-in stew meat" as one of the cuts from my half lamb about 6 medallion shaped rounds probably weighing 2 lbs.  I cut each one into about 3 big bite-size chunks, leaving in the bone because my son is obsessed with any meat "on the bone" thanks to Tom and Jerry.  If there's a television show that I can credit with inspiring good eating habits, it's Tom and Jerry.  The manners they inspire may be questionable, but after he's been watching a few episodes of Tom and Jerry, my son starts asking for sandwiches with lettuce and tomatoes and sprouts and anything else I can pile on, and meat on the bone!  So the meat was set, but then I wanted some kind of rice and one person coming over I thought maybe was a vegetarian so I wanted the rice to be able to serve as a meal.  Plus I'm always looking for ways to get more veggies onto my plate.  Rice pilaf is the solution.  It goes perfectly with the lamb, and also works very nicely on its own.

Hearty Rice Pilaf
serves 4
2 shallotts, minced
1 bunch baby spinached, chopped very thin (or 1 bunch frozen chopped spinach)
1 package-size bunch of mushrooms (crimini or baby bell or anything else on the mild side), sliced
1.5 cups brown rice
3 cups chicken broth or water
salt and pepper
olive oil

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan.  Saute shallotts until soft and  beginning to brown.  Add mushrooms, salt, pepper, and about 1 sprig's worth of fresh or dried oregano and thyme and saute until the mushrooms are nice and soft (about 10 minutes).  Stir in spinach until completely wilted.  Stir in rice until well blended.  Add broth or water.  Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to low and cook without lifting lid any more than necessary until water is absorbed, about 40 minutes.