Nailed It or Failed It: Pecan-spiked rice

Published 11:55 am Saturday, April 20, 2019

By Sarah Condley

wanted a side dish to go with our evening meal when I ran across this recipe in my collection.

It appeared in the July 2008 issue of Taste of the South Magazine.

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Pecan-spiked Rice

— 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

— 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion

— 1/4 cup minced shallot

— 1 teaspoon kosher salt

— 1 bay leaf

— 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice

— 2 cups hot chicken broth

— 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

— 1 cup chopped pecan pieces, toasted

In a 1 1/2 quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, shallot, salt and bay leaf. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often to prevent browning.

Add rice and continue to cook until grains of rice are thoroughly heated.

Stir in chicken broth and black pepper and bring broth to a simmer.

Lower heat and cover rice. Cook for 18 to 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed.

Add toasted pecans, stirring to combine.

I love pecans and always have them on hand. I also like rice so I thought surely this would be good.

I don’t buy yellow onions, I keep purple ones on hand because dark-colored vegetables are supposed to be better for you and I believe they are pretty much interchangeable in recipes.

I didn’t have a shallot and wondered if I could just substitute more onion instead. To find out, I went to the internet and discovered onions and shallots are not interchangeable.

A shallot is a bulb that grows in clusters like garlic and they are a bit sweeter and have a more subtle flavor than onions. So, I went to the grocery on my lunch hour and picked one up. Since I needed 1/4 cup of chopped shallot, I bought the biggest one I could find.

After arriving home that evening I started preparing supper. I got our meat dish going then started on this side dish.

I toasted some chopped pecans in the oven and they smelled delicious when they came out of the oven after about eight minutes.

I chopped the onion and then the shallot (I had just enough for this recipe), then I melted the butter in a pan.

When the butter was completely melted, I added the chopped onion and shallot, salt and a single bay leaf.

I let the mixture cook over medium heat until the onion was translucent, which was about 10 minutes.

I added the rice and let the mixture continue to cook.

As the mixture cooked, I started heating the chicken broth in a small pan. I stood over both pans while the rice was heating because I didn’t want it to burn and I didn’t want the broth to boil.

By the time I could see steam rising from the broth, I felt the rice was heated enough.

I poured the broth into the rice mixture, added the ground pepper and let the mixture come to a simmer. I lowered the heat and put the lid on the pan.

While the rice cooked, I was able to get the rest of our meal finished up.

The rice mixture had cooked for about 20 minutes when I lifted the lid. Because there was still liquid in the pan, I put the lid back on and let it continue to cook for another seven or eight minutes. By then, all of the liquid had been absorbed by the rice.

I added the toasted pecans to the mixture, gave it a stir and we were almost ready to eat.

Can’t forget to remove the bay leaf.

When everything else was ready for supper we sat down, Brad said a prayer and we filled our plates.

Brad was the first one to take a bite of the rice and immediately he said he liked it. I was pretty surprised given the fact the isn’t a big fan of white rice — only because it’s a starch and he tries to stay away from those kinds of foods.

I thought this was a good dish, too.

The recipe said it serves six but, because we both liked it so much, I doubt it would serve that many people at our house. Honestly, we had to make ourselves quit eating it.

This recipe is definitely a keeper and is headed to my self-made cookbook.

Sarah Condley is an amateur baker and chef who is compiling a cookbook of her favorite recipes.