Speaking of Shallots

Thu 03 March 2016

Fried Brown Rice

Speaking of shallots…I made a batch of that brown rice a couple of days ago. We had it for dinner with some leftovers.

It was a Friday night. In contrast to most other households, Fridays are the beginning of a busy stretch of days for us. Efficient meal preparation is therefore key if we want to get any downtime to spend together. The freshly (and quickly) made rice therefore went great with some leftovers from lunch.

The next day, we still had some of it remaining. It just so happens that leftover rice is great for frying up with many other ingredients that you may have lying around.

Quick Fried Rice

I snipped off pieces of some black forest bacon I had in the fridge, caramelized some onions in the fat, then threw in some of the rice. I topped that off with an egg that I scrambled into the mixture, and voilá, lunch in fifteen minutes. It would have been easy enough to throw in some bell peppers or mushrooms if I had any.

I love cooking at home, and this gives a great example of why. It’s a better meal than you can get at most places, more healthy, super quick, and amazingly easy.

You should cook at home too.

Shallots and Butter

Wed 24 February 2016

There are some classic food combinations that make cooking at home a real pleasure. I’ve recently spent some time with one of these: shallots and butter.

Shallots and Butter

When shallots slow-cook in butter, it releases a really nice aroma. Coming home to this smell when you’re hungry after a day at work really helps close out the day on the right foot.

All you have to do is finely dice a shallot, toss some butter in a pan on medium heat, mix the shallots into the butter, then season with salt and pepper. After a couple of minutes, you’ll have a nice base that you can take in many different directions. Be sure to mix it around while it’s cooking.

This base is what I use for a really simple and practical recipe that’s been in the rotation for the past few weeks, Brown Rice Pilaf.

Brown Rice Pilaf Recipe

Make the base as described above. About half a shallot with a tablespoon of butter should work.

Once the shallots are cooked through, pour in a cup of uncooked brown rice. Cook the rice in the butter until the kernels are slightly toasted, about 5 to 8 minutes. After that, pour in one and a half cups of chicken broth.

Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it’s bubbling, cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and lower the heat to medium-low. After 40 minutes, the rice will be ready to eat.

Cooking Notes

This is not a baking show, so be ready to make adjustments on the fly:

  • First, the amount of butter and shallots is up to you.
  • Next, if you don’t have (or don’t want to use) chicken broth, use some other liquid. Water works, so does vegetable broth. You can even put some white wine or a mixture of any of the three. It’s up to you.
  • Most importantly, check the water after about 25 minutes. If it looks like the rice is drying out, add some more. This is more likely to happen if the lid doesn’t fit well, letting moisture escape as steam. It’s the moisture that softens and cooks the rice, so make sure there’s enough.

Serving and Eating

I like to eat the rice for dinner, hot off the pan. If there’s any left over, I put it in a covered plastic container and refrigerate. The shallot rice goes well with eggs and bacon for breakfast the next day. Lunch and even dinner the next day works well too.

If you make enough, you’ll be set for a couple of days worth of meals. It’s a great way to eat some tasty, nutritious food and save time as well.

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