Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Black Rice Pilaf

Black rice is making a debut in our markets here in Sacramento. It's hard to come by, however, and it took me several trips to find it. I finally found some at Whole Foods, in the bulk food section under the brand name of Forbidden Rice. Why all the search for black rice? I had read that black rice was higher in nutrients than brown rice, and that it boasts a nice, nutty flavor. What I read about taste is right - black rice has terrific flavor. This recipe brings out the best of the flavor.


1 cup water or chicken stock
1/2 cup black rice (or wild rice)
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup diced sweet onion
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1/2 cup diced pear
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


Cover rice with water or stock and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender, about 40 minutes. Or, cook rice in a rice maker. While rice cooks, heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Add onion to skillet, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in nuts, parsley, and diced pear. Sprinkle lemon juice over all, and stir to combine. When rice is cooked, add rice to rest of ingredients, and stir. Taste, and correct seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed.

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Taste, then taste again. Chicken broth, even low sodium broth, contains salt. Adding salt at the end of the cooking time helps you control the amount of salt, also called sodium chloride, in your food. So, taste your finished dish before you add the salt. If it's okay, don't feel that adding more salt is required. If it needs more salt, add about half of the recommended amount, then taste again. If you still need more, then add more ... and taste again. If you serve a dish that's flavorful, you won't need to have a salt shaker on the table.

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