Thursday, June 21, 2007

Lunch-time Delight: Wild Rice Pilaf

For the last 2 days I have determined that I would create some really tasty and moderately-healthy lunches for myself. Yeah, it's about time I started eating more healthy... all that stuff about food and health on the TV makes you want to change your lifestyle eh? But, I think I'll keep my lifestyle and just change up the food part...

The first recipe comes from The Cook's Companion. It's a really great book and not only provides a variety of recipes but also introduces you to the basics of the culinary practice (from "knowing your herbs" to "different methods of preparing meat"). I thought this book was a steal when I saw it at Chapters, marked at $5.99 down from $14.99, but here's the kicker... when they scanned the book it came out to an amazing $2.99!!! I was super excited and ready to start making something.

Wild Rice Vegetable Pilaf (Serves 4)
Adapted from The Cook's Companion

- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 3 scallions, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, coarsely grated
- 1 green chili, seeded and chopped
- 1/4 cup seed mixture (sunflower, pumpkin, squash etc.) <-- original recipe calls for almond slices
- 1 3/4 cups cooked wild rice <-- original recipe calls for brown basmati rice
- 3/4 cup cooked split red lentils
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 5 tbsp fresh orange juice
- salt and pepper
- celery leaves to garnish

1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a "high-sided" frying pan, over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes, or until tender.

2. Add celery, carrots, chili, scallions, and seed mixture. Stir-fry for 2 minutes; vegetables should be al dente but still have a vibrant color. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

3. Add remaining oil to skillet; stir in the rice and lentils. Cook over medium heat for 1-2 mins. Reduce the heat, stir in the stock and orange juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Return vegetables to skillet and toss with the rice for a few minutes, until heated through. Transfer to a warmed dish, garnish with celery leaves and serve.

I really liked the end result of this recipe. The citrus-y flavor of the orange mixed with the other vegetables was divine. Maybe next time I'll add more chili, because it didn't turn out as spicy as I would have liked... but then again I like my food super spicy :P Also, this recipe makes a really good rice salad if it's eaten cold. Yes, I found this out because I was lazy and didn't want to heat up my left-overs... hehehe.

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