turkish-style rice pilaf with orzo

25 mins, prep: 5 mins, cook: 20 mins, 4 servings

Are you tired of plain boiled rice? Add some flair to your meat and poultry menus with this easy and tasty recipe for classic Turkish rice pilaf. 

Rice pilaf is famous all over the world and served in some of the finest restaurants as a side dish to poultry or red meats. In Turkey, pilav (pee-LAHV) is the word used to describe not only one, but a whole array of dishes made with rice.

This particular pilaf is cooked with butter, oil, and orzo. It's a nice side to serve with grilled meats, stewed dishes, and anywhere you would serve plain rice. If you want to transform it into an entree, try a Turkish rice pilaf with chicken and chickpeas.

1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 tablespoons orzo pasta
1 cup rice (Baldo or Calrose)
2 cups chicken broth
Salt (to taste)
Black pepper (to taste)

In a shallow saucepan, melt the butter and oil together. Once melted, add the orzo pasta and stir continuously over medium heat until the pasta turns a dark golden colour. Be careful and keep stirring so the butter and orzo don't burn.

Add the uncooked rice and stir thoroughly until the oil has worked its way through all the grains. Add your chicken broth and spices and bring to a boil. If you are using chicken bouillon in place of stock, cut down or omit the salt.

Cover and reduce the heat. Let the rice slowly simmer until the liquid disappears.

Without removing the cover, take the pan from the heat and put it aside to cool down. Keep the top on at all times while the rice cools. 

Tip: If too much condensation forms on the inside of the lid, open it and cover the top of the pan with a few paper towels, then close the lid over them. This will absorb excess moisture and allow the rice to continue steaming at an even pace.

Before serving, open the lid and gently stir the rice to loosen the bottom and separate the grains.
You can use a small dessert bowl as a mould to give it that signature rice pilaf look. Fill the bowl and pack down the warm rice with the back of a spoon. Invert the bowl onto a serving plate. The pilav will pop out in the shape of the bowl.