Pilaf with spinach and herbs

April 29, 2009

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Serves 4

1 cup long-grain white rice or basmati rice
6 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/4 pounds spinach leaves, stemmed and coarsely chopped
2 cups chicken stock or water, heated to boiling
1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios or walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill

1. In a large bowl, rinse the rice well under cold running water, working your fingers through it to loosen the starch. Drain off the milky water and repeat until the water runs clear. Cover the rice with cold water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Drain the rice and rinse a final time.

2. In a heavy-based saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onion, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Turn up the heat and add the spinach. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the moisture evaporates.

3. Add the rice to the pan and stir well. Add the stock or water. Bring to a boil, stirring. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer over low heat for 12 minutes.

4. In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the pistachios or walnuts and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes or until the nuts start to brown.

5. Add the nuts to the rice with mint, parsley, and dill. Do not stir. Replace the lid and return the pan to a very low heat. Continue cooking for 5 minutes.

6. Remove the pan from the heat. With a fork, fluff up the grains and stir in the nuts and rice. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper, if you like.

7. Cover the pan with a clean, folded dish towel and the lid. Set aside for 15 minutes. To serve, fluff the grains again with a fork.

Adapted from "Turquoise"