Spiced Rice – a New (Old) Family Favorite


Spiced Rice – a New (Old) Family Favorite

The other evening, we had some of our family who had just returned from their summer trip over for dinner, along with two additional grandchildren. The main dish was pork braised with peaches, which are currently in peak season here (see my blog posting for July 12, 2021 for a nectarine version of the dish). To accompany this, I made a spiced rice dish, actually a simple rice pilaf, something that is common in Eastern Mediterranean cuisines, and the sort of thing I made often as a side dish when our restaurant was doing delivery dinners for over a year at the beginning of the Covid period. The rice dish isn’t complex or really special, merely something savory to set off the meat dish. Or so I thought. 

To my amazement, four of the grandkids and a son-in-law found the rice amazingly different. And had their final helping of dinner as simply the rice. 

So, here it is, a new favorite in the family. It goes well with a seasoned meat dish that has a gravy or sauce. It worked very well with the braised pork. 

The recipe serves six. The rice, if necessary, reheats well in the microwave. 

1 1/2 cups basmati rice (or long-grained rice, such as Mahatma)

1 small onion, finely minced

3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 1/4 cups water or unsalted chicken broth

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon dry oregano

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3 whole cloves or a pinch of ground cloves

3 large bay leaves 

Rinse and drain the rice twice and set aside.

Mince the onion and fry it, uncovered, with the butter and olive oil over low heat in a heavy pot that has a tight-fitting lid. When onion is softened but not browned, stir in the drained rice and fry it with the onion 1 minute, stirring often. Add the water or unsalted chicken broth and seasonings and stir to mix. Do not stir again until the cooking is finished.   

Raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil, uncovered, for 1 minute. Cover pot and reduce heat to lowest setting and set the timer for 20 minutes. Do not open the pot. When the time is up, keep the pot covered, turn off the heat and let rest for 10 minutes. 

Open the pot and remove the bay leaves and whole cloves. Fluff the rice with a fork or rice paddle. Keep warm until served.

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