Rice Pilaf – Basic Recipe

My first experience with making rice in the oven was when I worked at La Vielle Maison in Boca Raton. This was a five star restaurant in the late 70’s and was lucky enough to have my first kitchen job here working with two very well known chefs: Christian Planchon and Yves Labbe. I learned a lot of the French techniques I use to this day.

Serves 4

2          2 Tablespoons XVOO

½         Cup Spanish Onion, Medium Dice

½        Cup Celery, Medium Diced

1          Bay Leaf

1          Cup Long Grain White Rice (Uncle Ben’s Preferably)

2          Cups Homemade Chicken Stock or Canned Low Sodium Chicken Broth

1          Teaspoon Coarse Sea Salt

1/2      Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 425°.

In a small saucepan heat the stock.

Heat XVOO in a 2-quart ovenproof heavy sauce pan over medium heat and sauté onion, celery, salt, pepper and bay leaf until onion and celery are translucent, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes.

Add rice and stir well to be sure each grain of rice is coated with the oil mixture. Stir in the hot stock. Bring the mixture to a full boil, cover and transfer the pan to the oven. Cook in the oven for 18 minutes. (You will know the rice is done when all of the liquid is absorbed and the grains of rice taste tender and not crunchy.) Remove from oven and let rest for ten minutes, then fluff with a fork before serving.

Hints and Tips:

  • To make yellow rice, add one small packet GOYA SAZON Seasoning to the sauté.
  • Add sliced toasted almonds and sauté with the onion and celery.
  • Add a pinch of saffron threads to the sauté.
  • Add thawed peas or fresh chopped asparagus to the rice half way through cooking.
  • Add raisins or other dried fruit to the sauté.
  • Add dried herbs at sauté or fresh herbs when taken out of oven.

There are so many possibilities and this is a perfect time to be creative. This is also a great basic recipe for Arroz Con Pollo or Paella.


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