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Lemon Rice Pilaf

Old Magazine Clippings

I love looking through old recipe files. When I am looking for inspiration those old clippings can be a treasure trove of great ideas tailored specifically to my own tastes and preferences and sometimes imbued with fond memories.

Recently I was drawn to a few pages from my oldest collection of recipe clippings. These are taped onto notebook paper and held together by a torn black binder. The tape has yellowed and loosened and some of the pages fall out when it is opened. Inside there are some awesome recipes.

Several pages consist of full menus torn from old issues of Southern Living dating back to the early 80's. When I was newly married and learning how to cook I loved the menus they published for simple entertaining. The recipes were reliable and the pairings inspired. While some dishes required a number of steps many of those steps could be done ahead of time and other recipes on the menu were often quite simple to prepare and offered a sense of balance. I confidently served these menus to friends for foyer group dinners and neighborhood gatherings.

Looking back at a favorite recipe from those menus, I glance over the yellowing photograph on the page and smile. The memories are good and it has been a long time since I made Buttermilk-Pecan Chicken or Lemon Rice for a gathering of friends. I think it's time to get requainted.

New Pairings

Lemon Rice makes a great summery side dish for many different entrees. It goes great with baked chicken but it is also a tempting accompaniment to salmon or pork. Last week I paired it with Pan-Seared Salmon in Chipotle Honey-Lime Bourbon Glaze and remembered why I enjoy Southern Living, in so many ways.

Of course this time around I couldn't resist changing a few things. I substituted vegetable broth for chicken bouillion cubes and water as well as cilantro for parsley. I used red onion for a bit of color and would have tossed in some toasted pine nuts when I fluffed the rice except that I had run out of pine nuts and didn't want to make a special trip to the market. I also read up on rice pilafs and used the technique suggested at Simply Recipes. That involved a few extra steps but I think it was worth it. The outcome was both pretty and delicious.

Lemon Rice Pilaf

4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped, about 1 cup (I used red onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
½ cup cilantro, finely chopped (can substitute parseley)
¼ cup toasted pine nuts, if desired

Place the stock in a large saucepan with a close fitting lid. (I use my 4 quart farberware pot.) Add the lemon juice. Bring to a simmer.

While the stock is warming heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and garlic and sauté over medium-high heat until soft. Add the long grain rice to the skillet and continue to stir and cook until the mixture begins to brown slightly. Remove from heat.

When the broth has come to a simmer carefully add the rice mixture to the broth. Bring the mixture back to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes or as long as the package of rice suggests. When done the rice should be tender and the liquid absorbed.

Let the pilaf rest in the pan, covered, until ready to serve. Fluff the rice with a fork before serving. Stir in toasted pine nuts if desired.



pam said...

I love looking back through old recipes that I made and/or wanted to make.

Anonymous said...


I must confess this is the first I have visited you blog in a long time. Your posts always make me smile and think of home.

MaryBeth said...

This rice dish sounds perfect, I bet it would go great with fish.

grace said...

i like to say pilaf, though i rarely get to do so since i'm not much of a rice fan. i can definitely see how the bright, lemony flavor of this version would pair well with fish though--well done!

Jessica said...

This looks delicious. I love to look through old cookbooks...especially Betty Crocker ones. They had everything a new housewife would need! At least as far as the kitchen was concerned. lol!


Zupan's Markets said...

There's nothing like finding old recipes! This would be great with some halibut, or cod too!

MaryBeth said...

I love rice dishes, they are so versatile. This lemon version sounds so refreshing for a hot summer night.

Colin said...

Made this tonight.
Used it to stuff some big red peppers - very nice.

Lisa said...

Colin - Sounds like a fresh and delicious way to use this rice recipe. Thanks for sharing!