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Mushroom Brown Rice Pilaf

Last week's newsletter featured a mouthwatering Chicken Marbella recipe....the week before I revealed the secret to producing a tender Carmelized Red Onion Brisket. A spectacular side-dish that doubles as a vegan/vegetarian meal is now added to your promised Rosh Hashana menu plan....and it's a dish made even more memorable to me as it comes with a story. Every year preceding our aliyah, I'd visit my much loved cousin in Hod Hasharon, and we'd invariably end up cooking together. The dishes I wanted to share with her often included fresh rosemary, and so I'd walk to the nearest rosemary bush at the end of her street, and return to her kitchen clutching fistfuls of fragrant, green needles. As I set out on my annual herb hunt, I could never have imagined that I'd not only realize my lifelong dream of moving here, but I'd end up living just meters away from my cousin, and one day I'd regularly pick rosemary from the very same bush I frequented over the years to use in MY kitchen. I offer today's Mediterranean Rice Pilaf in tribute to the power of dreams, and the near magical properties of rosemary.

3 tablespoons (45 ml) canola oil 1 bunch of spring onions, chopped 1 to 2 large green OR red pepper, diced* 2 sticks of celery, thinly sliced 1 tub white or brown mushrooms, sliced 2 teaspoons (10 ml) chopped fresh rosemary needles 1/4 cup (60 ml) Kiddush wine 4 x 250 ml cups cooked brown or white Basmati rice** 2 tablespoons (30 ml) Soya sauce Toasted, chopped almonds (optional) 1: Heat the oil and saute the spring onions and celery till slightly softened then reduce heat, add mushrooms and rosemary and toss till mushrooms begin to shrink. 3: Add Kiddush wine and allow to bubble briefly then add cooked rice, soya sauce, and almonds if using, and stir through with a fork till well mixed. Ideally served warm as a side dish or vegetarian meal but may be served at room temperature. * I often use a mix of red and green pepper and occasionally yellow too for added color. You can also include small broccoli florets - or use these in place of peppers if you prefer - plus you have the option of making the rice with just mushrooms as directed and then spooning into halved red/yellow peppers which are cooked in the oven till peppers are soft. ** I cook Basmati in the microwave for guaranteed great results. Place 2 cups of Basmati in a bowl, add 4 cups of salted boiling water, and cook covered for an average of 15 minutes depending on strength of your microwave.

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