This is a simple and easy recipe for rice pilaf.
It makes a great side dish for so many things and is ready in about 20 minutes from start to finish.
I love easy rice dishes like this one and I think you will love it too.
Saffron is a spice that is harvested from a particular kind of crocus flower called the Crocus sativus or saffron crocus. It is the colorful stamen that protrudes from the flower and must be harvested by hand.
Although it was first cultivated in Greece, saffron is grown in several parts of the world now. It is widely used in Indian, Persian, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Swedish and Turkish cuisines.
In India it is used in Ayurvedic medicine, a natural, alternative type of healing system. It is also commonly used in Arabic coffee, Italian risotto and Spanish paella.
Using vegetable stock makes this a great vegetarian side dish recipe.
Rice Pilaf Recipe
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, medium, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 cup long grain rice
- salt and freshly ground pepper to your taste
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- 2 cups vegetable stock, or chicken stock
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of butter in an oven proof casserole and cook the onion over a low heat for 4 minutes. Add the rice and continue stirring for another 3 minutes. Season well. Add the saffron or coloring to the stock. Pour the stock onto the rice and mix well with a fork. Bring it to a boil.
- Cover and bake in the oven at 350°F for 15 minutes until the stock is absorbed and the rice grains are separated.
- Optional: Add 1 extra tablespoon of butter and stir before serving if you wish.
Tips and Variations:
- I would saute the onion, butter and the rice in a frying pan first, then transfer it to an oven proof dish. You can also cook the whole recipe on top of the stove, but baking does give the rice dish a nice texture.
- Add color, flavor and extra nutrition to the rice pilaf by adding finely chopped red or green peppers or grated carrot when you are cooking the onion. You can also use chopped mushrooms.
- If you want the rice to be more of a main course, think about adding small strips of cooked chicken, shrimp or ham to the rice before you bake it. I would add about 1 cup of chopped cooked meat or seafood.
- Here is another delicious option: Add 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese to the top of the pilaf just as you are ready to serve it.
- Can you leave out the saffron? Yes, but it does add to the flavor. It is expensive but you only use a tiny bit.
If you like this rice pilaf recipe, have a look at our other rice, pasta and potato side dish recipes here.
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