sarah’s rice pilaf

I’ve been a little slow on the blogging draw as of late. But rather than bore you with the details of why, here’s one of those dusty old drafts I never got around to posting. Maybe because the photography wasn’t as good as I’d hoped—the actual printed recipe yields a much better-looking dish than what’s pictured here, which was my “I don’t have everything” adaptation! Whatever the case may be, this is a hearty, chewy rice pilaf will make you feel like curling up at a big wooden harvest table with a bunch of good friends. Which reminds me…

How much I miss my Syracuse supper club people. We weren’t a formal club, just a group of couples who loved to eat. I think I only attended three or four of the actual events before I moved off to D.C., but being still relative newcomers to our new town, I miss eating regularly with others. This dish was one of the first, served at a cozy home in Tipperary Hill, Syracuse, but the lovely and fleet-footed Sarah. We ate buttery, garlicky mussels, and then this pilaf stuffed into individual mini pumpkins. Sarah introduced me to trail running and French wine, and to that I owe her the world.

Or at least, dinner. Hopefully in the next few months I’ll be able to return the favor.

last image courtesy of Huro Kitty/Flickr Creative Commons

Billed as one of the most popular dishes at Greens Restaurant in San Francisco, it was also at hit one evening at a Tipperary Hill dinner party in Syracuse, New York.

Nutty Wild Rice

4 cups wild or brown rice, cooked accordingly (I used all wild, but this would be great with half of each
½ block of extra firm tofu
1 large yellow onion
2 medium carrots
2 celery stalks
1 green, yellow or orange bell pepper
2 medium zucchini or summer squash
6 ounces mushrooms of your choice, wiped clean (I used dried and soaked shiitakes)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tsp ground cumin seeds
1 tsp salt
1 cup mushroom broth (from soaking dried shiitakes, if you use them), vegetable stock, or water
6 ounces grated cheese (Jack, Muenster, Mozza or Gouda)
½ cup walnuts
fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, or marjoram)

Cook the rice. Set the tofu on a slanted board or pan under a heavy plate to drain, while you prepare the vegetables. Chop the onion, carrots, celery, pepper, and zucchini into ½-inch square pieces. Quarter mushrooms if they are small, and cut them into sixths or eighths if they are large. Cut the tofu into ½-inch cubes.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Heat the olive oil and butter together, and fry the onion over medium heat until it is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, nutritional yeast (if using) cumin, and salt. Stir until blended and cook for 1 minute. Add the carrots, celery, green pepper and a ½ cup of your chosen broth, then cover the pan and braise the vegetables until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and mushrooms and cook 7 to 10 minutes. The vegetables should be nearly, but not completely, cooked. If the pan gets dry while they cook, add a little more liquid.

Stir together the rice, vegetables, and cheese. Season with salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper. Gently mix in the tofu, and spoon the mixture into a deep, lightly oiled casserole dish or individual mini pumpkins (pre-roasted). Add a little more liquid to moisten. Cover with foil and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until heated through. Garnish with fresh herbs.

Adapted from Deborah Madison’s recipe

2 responses to “sarah’s rice pilaf

  1. JEN! great blog! thanks for the comment on mine:) we should totally start a supper club here. i am IN! do you know anyone else that would be interested? i really only know a couple of other girls but it could be cool….

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