Sunday, August 7, 2011

My Grandma's DIY Rice Pilaf

Gentle reader, my grandmother makes the best rice pilaf there is, and that is a fact.

Although Alyce and I have taken sides in the battle of sides, with her being Team Rice and me Team Potatoes, I still have to represent for my grandmother’s rice pilaf recipe. Unlike those expensive boxes containing packets of dried, preservative-laden God-knows-what powder, this is something you can make easily out of regular rice and vermicelli for far less cost per serving, while knowing what’s in it. She has written out the recipe for me, and I am sharing it here.

Now, I always wondered how my grandmother got every grain of rice to be perfectly distinct and delicious…and it turns out the key is a lot of butter. You can certainly use less butter, as I have done for years, while wondering while the rice does not turn out as delicious as my grandmother’s...or you can use her recipe and have your rice turn out as delicious as hers. The choice is yours.

Below is my grandmother’s recipe, exactly as she wrote it down.

  • 2 cups Uncle Ben long-grain rice
  • 1 stick butter or margarine
  • 2 cups vermicelli (break up with hands)
  • 4 cups chicken broth (bouillon cube or powder may be used)
  • 1 TBSP salt

  • Melt butter and vermicelli and brown for a few minutes. Vermicelli should be golden.

  • Add rice and salt. Stir for a couple of minutes.

  • Add broth; stir and simmer until broth is gone and rice is fluffy. (Simmer slowly—takes about 20 minutes.)

    Now, mind you, gentle reader, I would always go with butter over margarine and stock over bouillon...but when the recipe is my grandmother’s, I’m just going to put it out there and let you decide. This is a woman whose cooking is synonymous with love, so whatever form in which you prepare this rice, you’re going to rack up karma points just from association with her good energy. And that is a fact.

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