Considering there were 75-100 different sides to choose from, 2-1/2 quarts of pilaf gone isn't too bad! : }
VEGETABLE RICE PILAF
Olive oil to saute vegetables, and more to toast rice
1 8-oz package of mushrooms, diced
1 bell pepper (I had red), chopped
4 ribs of celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 TBL garlic, minced
1 stalk of broccoli tops, somewhat finely chopped but not necessarily "minced"
3 carrots, coarsely grated
3 cups of regular LG rice (I rinse mine first)
5-1/4 cups water
1 TBS of chicken bouillon base
Herbs (I minced fresh sage and parsley together--> @ 1 TBS, cooked 3 stems of thyme; could use a about 1-1/2 tsp or more of any dried herb combinations if you don't have fresh~Italian seasoning is perfect or poultry seasoning, too)
1/2 cups chopped and gently toasted pecans (or whatever nut you have available if you even want them)
In a large pot (dutch oven size) over medium heat, just coat bottom with oil. Saute mushrooms first until they start turning brown, then S&P. Add peppers and celery, saute that mixture a little while, S&P, then add onion and garlic and saute all until veggies are tender. Add the broccoli, carrots and pecan, S&P and mix all of the vegetables together. Place veggie mixture in a covered bowl.
Put a TBS or 2 back in bottom of the same pot, and add rice, tossing them in the oil for just a few minutes. Add water and chicken bouillon base and just a little S&P. If you have fresh thyme, add the sprigs on top. Bring all to a boil. Cover and bring temperature down to low for 15 minutes. DO NOT STIR THE RICE at this time.
Quickly add the herbs to top of rice and place veggies on TOP of the rice DO NOT STIR IN YET. Replace the lid and turn stove OFF for an additional 10 minutes.
Remove the lid and fluff the rice from underneath the vegetables, folding all the levels together. Remove the sprigs if you used fresh thyme. If you happened to have a bay leaf added to recipe, remove also. Place in casserole dish to serve.
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