We have a few go-to recipes around here, as I’m sure most people do. The kind of thing we make every single week and never get sick of. This rice pilaf is one of those for us.
I’m unabashedly in love with rice. White rice, brown rice, flavored rice, I love them all. For most of my pre-married, living-on-my-own life I happily ate rice for at least one meal a day, and it was usually some sort of ready-in-5-minutes boxed rice. So, I’m not saying my rice consumption was very sophisticated back then. Now that I’m a little more grown up, or at least we’re really busy playing house and trying to look like adults, we like to cook with “real” rice and add “real” ingredients, like fresh herbs. Whoa. And it turns out, it’s totally easy! For real.
This is a recipe we’ve adapted from Kelsey’s Essentials on the Cooking Network.
Serves 4-6 (we always have leftovers and it makes a great lunch the next day)
2-1/2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup of vermicelli broken into one-inch pieces
1 cup of white rice
2 tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
You’ll need two pots: one medium-sized pot with a lid, and one saute pan with high sides and a lid. Don’t get intimidated, though. This is easy.
Combine chicken stock and butter in your medium-sized pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil, cover, and let simmer on low. Then, in your saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-low and add your broken vermicelli pieces.
Stir constantly until they turn a golden brown, usually about 4 minutes (my stovetop runs on the hot side). Add the rice and stir until the grains turn from dull white to bright white, about another 5 minutes. This is a subtle change in color, and I cooked this a few times before I really noticed the change. If you can’t tell the difference, it’s no big deal. Just cook for 5-6 minutes, while stirring.
(This vermicelli is a little more brown than it should be. I was busy fussing with my camera and let it cook too long.)
Then carefully pour your simmering chicken stock and butter mixture into your saute pan with the rice and noodles. Stir and make sure everything is submerged in the broth and no little grains are hanging out on the side of the pan. Bring to a low simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Then remove the lid and let it cook until the liquid is all absorbed, about another 5 minutes.
Add salt and pepper if you want (I usually do a little pepper and no salt because the chicken stock is salty enough). Sprinkle your fresh parsley on top and serve!
The parsley is my favorite part. I love how it adds a really nice, fresh, garden-y pop of flavor that you’d never get from one of those overly salty box pilafs. This rice pilaf tastes so much better than a box! Plus, it’s so super easy once you get the hang of it, there’s no reason to ever buy the box again.