To save time, my mother heats the stock separately, at the same time that the rice is browning. This way the stock doesn't take as long to come to a boil when you go to cook the rice. But, you don't have to do it that way. You can easily add cold stock to the rice to cook it, it will just take longer to come to a simmer.
- 2 cups white rice (preferably long grain)
- 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil (or chicken fat)
- 1/2 cup chopped onion - green onion (scallions) or yellow onion
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- Up to 4 cups of stock (amount depends on the type of rice you are using), either chicken stock or vegetable stock for vegetarian option, or a mix of water and stock
- 2 teaspoons of salt or seasoned salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 Heat stock in saucepan: Look at the cooking instructions for your rice. If your rice calls for 2 cups of water for every cup of rice then you will need a total of 4 cups of liquid. If your rice calls for 1 2/3 cups of water for every cup of rice, you will need a total of 3 1/3 cups of liquid.
You want to cook the rice in a liquid that is primarily stock—chicken stock or vegetable stock. Up to half of the liquid can be plain water, but at least half of the needed liquid should be stock. Homemade stock is the best, of course, and will make a big difference in the quality of the resulting pilaf.
Heat the measured amount of stock needed in a saucepan, at least 2-qt sized.
2 Brown the rice, add onions and celery: While the stock is heating, heat a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the olive oil (or chicken fat if you have it) to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, add the uncooked rice and brown the rice, stirring occasionally, for a couple of minutes.
When the rice has browned, add the onions and celery and cook a few minutes longer, until the onions begin to soften.
3 Add salt, pepper, cayenne: If you are using canned or boxed broth, be careful of how much seasoning you add. We usually use homemade, unsalted chicken stock, so we add 2 teaspoons of salt or seasoned salt along with ground pepper and a dash of cayenne.
If you are starting with seasoned broth, you may only need to add a teaspoon of salt. Taste test the broth/stock. It can be a little on the salty side because the rice will absorb a lot of the salt.
4 Add stock, cook the rice: Pour the heated stock into the pan with the rice (or pour the rice mixture into the stock, depending on which pan has a lid).
Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat, cover, and cook for as long as the instructions say on your package of rice. Usually between 15 to 25 minutes. Use a timer.
After the set amount of cooking time, remove the pan from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes, covered. At no point during the cooking of the rice should you uncover the pan.
5 Fluff with fork, stir in parsley: Fluff with a fork to serve. Stir in chopped parsley. You can also mix in heated peas, toasted almonds, or raisins to the pilaf to make it more interesting.