Wondering What to Bring - Easy, a Pilaf!

By Tim Johnson

Meals, whether formal or not, always come with a lot of stress. Or me it’s not the people I’ll be with but instead what dish to bring. Unless I’m assigned something that is in my wheelhouse, It is always a challenge to think of a dish that will complement the meal, travel well and be a hit.

A couple of years ago I hit upon a great solution. A homemade pilaf is a flavorful dish that travels well and its guaranteed to be unique.

Hazelnut-Mushroom Pilaf

Originating in the Middle East, pilaf refers to a style of preparation literally meaning rice cooked with stock and vegetables or meat. Lightly browning the rice with butter allows the grains to be more separate, while still maintaining the soft texture of medium grain rice.

The recipe below is simple to prepare and cooked in the oven in a 9×13 oven–safe glass dish. Like many, we have a wicker carrier that makes transport and serving easy and topped with toasted hazel nuts – elegant.

ingredients for Hazelnut-Mushroom Pilaf

Hazelnut-Mushroom Pilaf
Serves 8

2 c medium grain Calrose rice
4 tbsp butter
½ c cremini mushrooms chopped
1 large yellow onion chopped
4 c chicken broth
½ c hazelnuts chopped
black pepper to taste

Oven method
Place a large skillet over medium-low heat. Melt butter and sauté mushrooms and onions until slightly browned. Add rice and pepper to taste. Stir constantly until rice is lightly brown. Transfer rice mixture into an ungreased 9×13 Pyrex or other oven safe dish. With a spoon, level rice evenly across the bottom of the dish. Pour hot chicken broth gently over the rice. Sprinkle the hazelnuts across the top and cover with foil, crimping around the edge to seal. Place in a pre-heated 350–degree oven for 30-40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Tim Johnson, CRC President & CEO

Tim Johnson