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Jan 1, 2012 02:24 AM

January 2012 COTM: Essential Pepin: Pasta, Rice, Grains and Potatoes

Please use this thread to discuss and review recipes from the chapter about pasta, rice, grains and potatoes.

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. Brown Rice and Onion Pilaf (page 104)

    Very simple. Very, very good. And with ingredients that are nearly always on hand. In fact, I chose this recipe for exactly that reason. It was too cold out and I was too lazy to even think about shopping.

    Sauté 2-1/2 cups of cubed onions (I didn’t have quite that many, but I don’t think it made a bit of difference) with garlic in olive oil and butter for two to three minutes. Add either Herbes de Provence or Italian seasoning (I had neither so I used one of those Penzey blends they send you sometimes that I practically never use but can’t bring myself to throw out; this one is called “bouquet garni”), chili powder, and brown rice (I used TJs brown jasmine). Stir and add water and s&p; bring to a boil and then simmer for about 45 minutes (mine needed 50 or 55). Fluff and serve.

    This had so much flavor, it was hard to believe there was no stock in it. I used a medium hot chili powder and there was a definite back kick. I’ll probably go with mild next time.

    He says this serves 6, and perhaps it does if you eat as much of it as I did. I served it with Tuna Steaks with Peppercorns (page199) and ended up leaving some of the fish on the plate and going for another helping of the rice. Still, I wouldn’t hesitate to cut the recipe in half to serve four.

    This may not be a recipe I would suggest you all run to immediately, but if you keep brown rice on hand (as I do) and if you need a moderately healthy, moderately low-fat carbohydrate side (don’t we all), this is a very good recipe; highly recommended.

    14 Replies
    1. re: JoanN

      Rice Pilaf Pancake (page 104)

      Ermmm. You may consider the above suggestion that the recipe be halved formally revoked.

      In a sidebar to the Brown Rice and Onion Pilaf recipe he has instructions for making a pancake of the leftovers. Put 11/2 cups of leftover pilaf into a non-stick pan with a couple of tablespoons of oil, fry on each side for 5 or 6 minutes, and top with a fried egg.

      This is definitely a gift that keeps on giving. The pancake with egg was superb. I’m glad I have still more pilaf left, because this is probably going to be lunch again tomorrow.

      1. re: JoanN

        Yum -- that looks delicious. I really appreciate how JP makes so many suggestions in this book for how to repurpose leftovers into great new dishes of their own. I'm hoping to make my first foray into the book this weekend.

        1. re: JoanN

          Wow, I totally overlooked this recipe in the book and you caught my attention with your first post, but with your second post, I am craving this! Brown rice has never gone over well in my house, but this may do the trick.

          P.S. What kind of chili powder did you use? The kind one would use to make Texas-style chili or the Asian kind of chili powder?

          1. re: BigSal

            I used one of Penzeys' blends that's comprised of Ancho chili pepper, red pepper, cumin, garlic and Mexican oregano-- the kind you'd use in a bowl of red or for BBQ. There's only a teaspoon of it though in a large pot of rice. I wouldn't go out and buy chili powder solely for this dish if I had a substitute available.

          2. re: JoanN

            I read your report yesterday, Joan, and immediately put this pilaf on my To Make list. Now, after reading your variation report it will be made soonest rather than later.

            1. re: JoanN

              Rice Pilaf Pancake (page 104)

              I was craving this rice pilaf pancake ever since reading JoanN's review. My husband wanted chili while he watched the NY Giants football game, so I took the opportunity to make the brown rice and onion pilaf. The pilaf was fine, but nothing I'd seek out (I still have not acquired the taste for brown rice, but still trying) so I cooled down the rice and made the pancakes. I made 2 smaller pancakes about 1/2 c each and cooked these in 1/2 T oil. I ate the rice pancakes with a fried egg (cooked in the same pan with no additional oil) and some of my cabbage kimchi - tasty and satisfying lunch. Now that I have the pilaf made, this will make a quick go to meal. I would have completely ignored this recipe without the review. Thanks, JoanN!

            2. re: JoanN

              Thanks for the suggestion - I made this tonight and found it easy and delicious.

              1. re: JoanN

                Tonight's the night for the pliaf, Joan. I came back here to read your report again so I could note any advice you might have had. As for the pancake: I have some sauce left over from JP's chicken chasseur and wondered if it would "go with" the pancake. The sauce is neither spicy nor mild. It's similar to cacciatore. Also we'll probably do a poached egg rather than fried. As you can see I'm planning for leftovers...

                1. re: Gio

                  It's a bit difficult for me to *picture* the pancake with sauce simply because I didn't think it required one. For me, at least, the runny egg yolk was sauce enough. But I'm sure you'll know, as soon as you taste the pilaf, whether or not you think the sauce would be a welcome addition. Not being much help here, am I? I'll be eager to read what you decide and what you think.

                  1. re: JoanN

                    Oh that's fine. Glad to read your ideas about the sauce. Taste first, sauce later... or not. Thanks very much.

                2. re: JoanN

                  Brown Rice and Onion Pilaf, Pg. 104

                  So, we made the pilaf last night and totally agree with Joan's assessment of both the ease of prep and delicious taste of the final dish. In fact we both Loved it. I followed the recipe as written using 1 1/2 very large onions which gave me just about 2 cups, Herbes de Provence, TJ's brown basmati, and Penzey's medium hot chili powder. I'll use the med-hot again. It took about 40 minutes for the pilaf to come to the "tender but still chewy" stage.

                  We made only half the recipe but I think I'll make the full recipe for the Super Bowl and just make pancakes. I can see why Joan advised about perhaps not using a sauce and won't do that. The pilaf itself has it's own distinct flavor. It will go very well with spicy roasted drumsticks and wings. Many thanks to JN for reporting on this recipe. The side dish was the Beet Salad with Sour Cream Dressing on page 50. Super great recipes that we devoured.

                  1. re: Gio

                    Ah. Was curious what you'd decide re: the sauce. The pilaf really is so much more flavorful than you'd expect given the ingredients. Glad you enjoyed it. Now, to go over and check out that Beet Salad. Love! beets.

                    1. re: Gio

                      Brown Rice and Onion Pilaf, Pg. 104

                      Couldn't wait to get back in here to report on the pilaf again that we made tonight. It was every bit as tasty if not better, than we had way back in 2012. Somehow it tasted so much more than I remembered.

                      All the recommended ingredients were used except I improvised the chili powder and used cayenne and sweet paprika, and brown basmati from TJ's. It was paired with the Thyme, Oregano and Citrus Roasted Poussins [Chicken] from "Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons" by Diana Henry, and a sauteed baby bok chow recipe from Bill's Everyday Asian by Bill Granger. OMGoodness What a wonderful meal.

                  2. Ziti with Sausage and Vegetables – p. 94

                    After a very busy January Saturday I needed a quick and tasty dinner solution and I’m happy to report JP delivered, on both counts, even if I did make an omission to his recipe. Our last stop before heading home was at an Italian market where I picked up some hot Italian Sausage and some rapini w a pretty traditional pasta dish in mind. Just prior to doing this my way, I decided to do a quick EYB search and found this recipe. Since corn is neither in season or, my freezer, I decided to carry on w the recipe and, omit the corn.

                    This recipe appeared in the NYT except that the Times recipe uses broccoli whereas JP’s book suggests broccoli rabe. Here’s the link:


                    I should also note that JP encourages substitutions w this recipe pointing out “if cauliflower is less expensive than broccoli rabe, use it instead. Likewise, omit the tomatoes if they are too costly.”

                    Normally I wouldn’t add tomatoes (or corn) to this dish however since I had some lovely cherry tomatoes I decided to add them in. The sweetness of the tomatoes balanced the bitterness of rapini . . . to the delight of mr bc I might add! Also, I usually top this dish w parmesan however we really enjoyed JP’s “twist” of using pecorino Romano instead. The earthiness of this cheese added a new and delightful flavour profile to the dish.

                    Quick, simple and delicious, I’ll happily recommend this one and, will most definitely make it again. I definitely look forward to trying it w the corn during the summer time.

                    ETA: Oops, I forgot to mention that I went w Orecchiette vs Ziti.

                    1. Mushroom-Stuffed Potato Pancakes, p. 118

                      These little sautéed bites are toothsome and fun, either as a first course or a main dish at supper. Twelve small stuffed pancakes are created out of 1 1/2 pounds of cooked Red-Bliss-type potatoes, flattened into two layers around a seasoned layer of cooked mushrooms. First you boil the potatoes until tender, push them through a food mill or ricer, season with s & p, and cool. Meanwhile, sliced shallots are sautéed in canola oil, then chopped garlic and chopped mushrooms are added to the pan and cooked "till the moisture is almost gone." And here's the part that makes this so savory: diced and pitted oil-cured black olives are then added to the mix.

                      The fun part is making the pancakes, which are easy to form. 24 little balls of potato puree are flattened between sheets of plastic-wrap into 3 -inch disks. You then spoon a tablespoon of the mushroom mixture onto one disk, place another on top, press the edges to seal, and voila! Twelve little pancakes that you then sauté in canola oil in a non-stick skillet for about 3 minutes on a side until browned and heated through.

                      These can be formed ahead and kept in the refrigerator till cooked, or sautéed an hour ahead and reheated in the oven or under the broiler. I served them as part of a buffet dinner. They are relatively rich despite having no butter, and thus somewhat healthful! But I can fix that: I didn't try this last night, but I can imagine a dollop of creme fraiche on top of each, too!