We set out to enrich simple rice pilaf with nutritious add-ins without distracting from its ability to complement any number of dishes. The first order of business was to exchange white rice for brown to build a healthful base for our add-ins. A Middle Eastern–inspired combination of aromatic onions, sweet dates, earthy pistachios, and fresh mint created the flavorful yet mild profile we were after. We knew from previous testing that oven baking brown rice guaranteed the most even and appealing texture. (On the stovetop, the rice on top can become mushy as the rice on the bottom dries out.) In a Dutch oven, we sautéed a base of onions, stirred in broth, rice, and a bay leaf, and baked it all, covered, for about an hour. When the rice was tender, we removed it from the oven, sprinkled chopped dates over the top, covered the pot again, and let it sit for 5 minutes, just enough time for the dates to become plump and tender. After a quick fluff with a fork to incorporate a sprinkling of pistachios and mint, our pilaf was good to go. Medium-grain or short-grain brown rice can be substituted for the long-grain rice.
- Yield: 6 Servings
- 1 tablespoon cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped fine
- Salt and pepper
- 3¼ cups homemade or low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1½ cups long-grain brown rice, rinsed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1½ ounces pitted dates, chopped (¼ cup)
- ⅓ cup shelled pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup minced fresh mint
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and ½ teaspoon salt and cook until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Stir in broth, cover, and bring to boil. Off heat, stir in rice and bay leaf. Cover, transfer pot to oven, and bake until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 55 to 65 minutes.
- Remove pot from oven. Sprinkle dates over rice and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Fluff rice with fork, stir in pistachios and mint, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
Serving Size 1
Nutritional Value Per Serving
Calories from Fat:
% Daily Value*
* Above mentioned %DVs (Percent Daily Values) are based on 2,000 calorie food intake.
DVs (Daily values) may be vary depending upon individuals daily calorie needs. Above nutritional values are estimates and should only be used as a guide for approximation. They are not allfoodchef.com recommendations. Calculations are based on average weight of 194 lbs. and ages of 19 to 50 years.