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Pantry Raid: Potluck Rice Pilaf

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Penny Pinching Epicure: Pantry Raid: Potluck Rice Pilaf

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pantry Raid: Potluck Rice Pilaf

This weekend I celebrated the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, during which many have a custom to eat their festive meals (lunch an dinner) in a sukkah. As not everyone has a sukkah, meals are usually quite large and done potluck style in order to share the costs of feeding lots of people.

Potlucks are hard--you want to make enough food to feed a large crowd, but you don't want to spend an inordinate amount of money. This recipe is cheap, easy and filling. Toasting the rice in a bit of oil before cooking gives it an earthly flavor, and the cranberries and rice wine vinegar lend a nice sweet/sour balance.

Note about cooking rice: The cardinal rule of cooking rice is DON'T STIR OR PEEK. When you stir you release starchiness which can make your rice really mushy; if you peek, you release steam and can disrupt the rice cooking process. In order to make good rice, shake the pot when you add liquid instead of stirring, and don't lift the lid while it's cooking; your rice will be done when it stops steaming (try jiggling but not lifting the lid to see if it's still steaming).

Potluck Rice Pilaf


2 cups basmati rice
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups water
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp curry powder (more if you like it really spicy)
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 cup chickpeas or small white beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries
2 scallions, chopped

  1. Heat oil in stock pot over medium flame and toast rice until lightly browned, 3-4 minutes (watch closely because rice can burn easily).
  2. Whisk together water, stock and spices then poor into pot and shake to combine.
  3. Turn up heat and bring to a boil, then turn down to low flame and cook until done, 15-20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, add rice wine vinegar, chickpeas/beans, cranberries & scallions, and fluff rice with a fork to combine. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
Fun variations:
  • Saute a chopped onion, a few cracked garlic cloves or some sliced baby portabello mushrooms before adding the rice.
  • For an added crunch, stir in a 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or almonds just before serving (I usually don't put nuts in a potluck recipe in case someone is allergic, good potluck etiquette).
The cost:
rice: .80
stock: .99
chickpeas/beans: .79
cranberries: .67
scallions: .20

Grand total: $3.45; serves 10-12 as a side

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Blogger RAK said...

I can vouch for this being delicious!

October 5, 2009 at 7:35 PM  
Blogger Yaakov "Jake" Weissmann said...

Could be that I'm an idiot, but that rice tip was the BEST THING EVER!!!

October 6, 2009 at 9:08 PM  

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