I love rice, and I enjoy making pilafs with various veggies and spices. One shortcut I often deploy is to start with rice-a-roni and jazz it up by adding my hand-harvested wild rice and whatever vegetables I have on hand. The main course tonight was grilled salmon and I was in charge of a side dish, so I made a pilaf chock full of vitamins and minerals from the wild rice, dandelion greens, ramps and spinach.
Pilafs originated in the middle east, and each region has their own recipes. The base is always rice or another grain, such as bulgar, which is usually fried in oil before boiling in broth with herbs and spices, vegetables, and sometimes with meat. The resulting cooked rice should not clump, but rather remain separate. The ingredients added to the rice should be chopped or diced finely so that all the components are similarly uniform in size. Rice-a-roni is really just a boxed pilaf.
Here is my newest recipe:
- 1 box rice-a-roni, any flavor (I used chicken and broccoli)
- 1/4 cup dry wild rice
- 1 Tbsp olive oil or butter
In large skillet over medium-high heat, combine rice-a-roni (not the spice packet), wild rice and oil. Stir until most of the grains are golden brown.
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 large stalks celery, diced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- Seasoning packet
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 3 cups water
Cover and simmer until rice is nearly done, about 15 minutes. Stir in 3 chopped ramps, then put 1 cup chopped dandelion greens and 2 cups chopped spinach leaves on top of rice and replace cover. Cook 5 more minutes, then stir in greens.
The results were very good, and paired well with the grilled salmon (seasoned with Old Bay).