Mushroom & broccoli pilaf (4 servings)

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I'm judging by the patterns of the last few weeks here: advent of warmer weather + influx of essays to grade + start of new grad class = lack of blog posts.  Sorry about that, folks.

That being said, I am excited to post this newest recipe, although I made it two weeks ago and the photos had been sitting on my camera since then.  This recipe comes from the Williams-Sonoma cookbook whose praises I sang weeks ago.  It sounded more like a side dish than an entree when I first read the recipe, but the combination of rice, chickpeas, and cashews is so filling that it easily works as a main dish.  I think I served this with a green salad.

You will need:

  • 2 1/2 cups mushroom stock (I'm sure vegetable stock would work just fine)
  • A splash of dry white wine
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • Medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup dry brown rice (NOT instant)
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1 small head broccoli, cut into 1-inch florets
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup salted, roasted cashews, coarsely chopped
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Combine the stock and white wine in a small saucepan or microwaveable measuring cup, and warm either on the stovetop or in the microwave, heating until steaming but not boiling.  Set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in a heavy oven-proof stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute until translucent (6-8 minutes).  Add the rice and stir until coated with the butter (about a minute).
  4. Pour in the hot broth/wine.  Add the thyme, about 1/2 tsp salt, and a few grinds of black pepper.  Raise heat to bring to a boil; then cover and set in oven to bake for 40 minutes.
  5. Remove the pot from the oven and stir in the broccoli and chickpeas.  Cover again and bake until the broccoli is tender (10- 15 minutes).  Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes, still covered, to steam.
  6. Uncover the pot and fluff the rice with a big spoon.  Fold in the cashews and red pepper flakes; serve immediately.

I think it's a bit brazen to call this "mushroom and broccoli pilaf" when the only mushrooms are in the stock used to cook the rice.  I used Better Than Bouillon mushroom base, but I can't say the dish had a distinctly mushroomy taste.  I was trying to think of a way to add sliced mushrooms to this recipe, but I don't know when I'd add them in.  Maybe I'll experiment with that in the future.

Being a sucker for textural combinations, I loved this dish.  The fluffy rice was complemented by the firm chickpeas and crunchy cashews and broccoli stalks.  It was a little on the salty side, but I didn't even mind.  I might use unsalted cashews next time though.  This dish could be made vegan by substituting oil for the butter and by using a vegan vegetable stock.  I like recipes like this where the work is front-loaded; I can chop my veggies and saute the ingredients and then get schoolwork done while everything finishes in the oven!  Love it!