When I’m looking for a simple dinner that’s also delicious, rice pilaf immediately comes to mind. One-pot dinners are great because no side dishes are needed. And rice pilaf is a great way to design a one-pot dinner where one basically throws everything into a pot and voilà — dinner is ready!

Rice pilaf comes in many flavors, with or without meat, and whatever veggies are laying around. The essential ingredient is rice, of course. Garlic and onion is what enhances the flavors. Something red and something green usually helps the visual presentation. And left-over meats or cheap cuts work wonderfully well in pilaf. We like the gamey taste of lamb, so that’s usually our first choice. We also like to add dried apricots for a little sweetness and almonds for a little crunch.

Traditional rice pilaf is usually baked, but if you’re hungry and in a hurry, it’s faster to finish it on the stove. I make mine in a wok, but any large pot will do as long as you have a tight-fitting cover for it.

Lamb Pilaf
(Preparation time: 45 minutes, serves six)

  • 1½ cup onion, chopped
  • 1 bulb garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ cup rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tbsp beef base
  • 1½ cup cooked lamb, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14 oz)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup dried apricots, diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 yellow squash, diced
  • ½ cup frozen peas, defrosted
  • ¼ cup almonds, slivered

Procedure:

 

  1. Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil in a large pot
  2. Add the rice, water and beef base, bring to a boil
  3. Add the lamb, celery, tomatoes, apricots, rosemary, salt and pepper, bring to a boil again
  4. Stir well, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes
  5. Add the zucchini, squash, peas and almonds
  6. Adjust seasoning
  7. Stir well, cover and simmer for another 20 minutes