Archive for Spring Rice, Grains and Beans

Barley Pilaf

An old favourite of mine; excellent served with roast pork loin, especially a juicy, bone-in roast . I also use it as an accompaniment to my hazelnut chicken breasts and anything else that takes my fancy! Like I said before, I love barley. If I have leftovers, they will become part of a soup.  You can easily make half the recipe if you like.

Makes 10 Servings

6 Tbsp. butter
1 ½ cups chopped leek
1 cup thinly sliced celery
2 cups pearl barley
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried thyme, crumbled
½ to 1 tsp. salt or to you taste
Freshly ground black pepper
3 ½ cups chicken stock or tinned low salt chicken broth**
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup minced fresh parsley
¼ cup snipped fresh chives (or green onions, green part only)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Melt butter in a heavy ovenproof casserole over medium-low heat. Add leeks & celery & cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add barley & stir 3 minutes. Add bay leaves, thyme, salt & a generous amount of pepper. Mix in stock & wine. Bring to a boil; cover tightly & bake until liquid is absorbed, 35 – 40 minutes. Stir in parsley & chives. Serve immediately.

If you would like to make homemade stock, click Making Stock.

Phyllis Signature_01

Ramp & Sausage Risotto

Ramps (also known as wild leeks), can be found either in the wild, if you know where to look, or at the Farmer’s Market in the spring.  They are really, really tasty and something I hunt for in the spring!  Figuratively speaking that is!

Makes 4 – 6 First Course Servings

2 Tbsp. butter
¼ lb. Italian sausages, casings removed
1/8 tsp. red chili flakes (optional)
12 ramps, trimmed; bulbs & slender stems sliced, green tops thinly sliced
1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
½ cup white wine or dry vermouth
3 cups (or more) low salt chicken broth or homemade stock**
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, adding more to suit your taste

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add the sausage, cooking until no longer pink, breaking up with a fork, about 5 minutes. Add the sliced ramp bulbs & stems. Sauté until almost tender, approximately 2 minutes. Add the rice & stir 1 minute. Add the wine & cook until it is absorbed. Begin adding the broth 1 cup at a time, simmering & stirring until almost absorbed before the next addition. Cook until the rice is al dente & creamy, approximately 18 minutes. Mix in the green tops of the ramps & the Parmesan, using up to ½ cup cheese. Season to taste with salt & freshly ground black pepper. Serve in bowls, passing additional grated cheese if you wish.

If you would like to see more information about rice for risotto, click Phyllis’ Kitchen/Cooking Tips.

If you would like to make your own stock, click Making Stock.

Baked Polenta With Onions And Bacon

For a printer friendly version of this recipe, click here.

Joe likes it!  That’s what the note at the top of the recipe says!

The polenta is prepared in the microwave then finished in the oven. I think it would be excellent with chicken, perhaps Joe’s Tuscan Chicken or chicken with barbecue sauce & a nice salad.

Makes 2 Servings

3 slices of lean bacon, chopped crosswise into ½” pieces
2 medium onions, sliced thin
1 cup water
¾ cup chicken broth
¼ tsp. crumbled dried sage or ¾ tsp. chopped fresh sage
½ cup polenta
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, or other hard grating cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

In a 2 – 3 quart microwaveable casserole with a lid, microwave the bacon, uncovered, on high, stirring after each minute, for 2 to 2 ½ minutes, or until it is almost crisp. Pour off all but 1 Tbsp. of the fat from the casserole & stir in the onions. Microwave the mixture, uncovered, on high, stirring every 2 minutes, for 8 minutes, or until the onions are softened but not browned; transfer the onion mixture to a bowl.

To the casserole add the water, broth & sage; whisk in the cornmeal, a little at a time, whisking until the mixture is smooth. Microwave the mixture, covered, on high, whisking after 3 minutes, for a total of 5 minutes, or until it is thickened & the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the butter, 2 Tbsp. of the cheese, half the onion mixture, salt & pepper to taste; divide the mixture between two gratin dishes or spread into a 3 cup gratin dish that has been buttered or sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Top the polenta with the remaining onion mixture, spreading the mixture evenly, sprinkle it with the remaining 2 Tbsp. cheese & bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

**If you would like to make your own stock, please go to Making Stock.

Milanese Rice

I like to make this rice, a baked “risotto” to accompany Osso Bucco. It’s not the usual cooked on top of the stove, stirring almost constantly, so it does make things a little easier for the cook. However, feel free to change it up & do it the traditional way! I love the saffron in the rice. When buying saffron, make sure you buy the “threads” and not powdered. Spain’s saffron is excellent & if you can get it so is the saffron from San Gimignano in Italy. I like to use Parmigiano but Grana Padano will also be very good.

Makes 3 – 4 Servings

½ medium onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. each EVO & unsalted butter
1 cup risotto rice**
2 cups chicken stock**or tinned low/no salt chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
1/16 to 1/8 tsp. saffron threads
½ bay leaf
½ clove garlic, minced
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

To Finish The Rice: add 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter & 2 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Add the saffron to the wine & set aside. Bring the chicken broth & keep warm. In an ovenproof pot, melt the butter with the EVO over medium to medium-low heat until hot. Add the minced onion & sauté until transparent, approximately 8 minutes. Add the minced garlic & stir for a minute, then add the rice & stir until it is coated with the butter & oil and the very tips of the rice grains begin to look transparent. Add the wine, stirring for a moment, followed by the broth, bay leaf, salt & pepper. Fit a piece of tin foil over the pot & top with the lid. Place in the oven and cook without looking, for 20 minutes; check & if the rice is still slightly creamy, it will be done. If not, replace foil & lid and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir in the 2 Tbsp. butter and 2 Tbsp. Parmigiano-Reggiano.

**If you would like to read about rice for risotto, please go to Phyllis’ Kitchen/Cooking Tips.

**If you would like to make your own homemade stock, please to go Making Stock.

Creamy Polenta

For a printer friendly version of this recipe, click here.

This version of polenta is basically one that requires very little stirring;  a good thing in my eyes!

4 cups water
1 tsp. salt
1 cup polenta (not quick-cooking)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

**If you like you can put a bit of fresh thyme in the polenta while it is cooking.


In a 3 quart heavy saucepan bring the water to a boil, add the salt. Whisk while adding the polenta in a thin stream. Cook over medium heat, whisking, 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low; cover pan, then cook at a bare simmer for 45 minutes, stirring with a long-handled spoon for 1 minute every 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, whisk in the butter until incorporated.

**Polenta can be made 20 minutes ahead, kept, covered, at room temperature, if you allow it to stand longer it will solidify.




Phyllis Signature

Polenta With Fontina And Thyme

I made this polenta the first time on a rainy November night and served it alongside braised lamb shanks. It was the absolute perfect thing to accompany the lamb. But, don’t hesitate to serve with steak, chicken or pork. How about grilled Italian sausages or Italian sausages braised with bell peppers, onions & tomato sauce? Go vegetarian and leave out the sausages. Add some zucchini or eggplant. Sounds good to me!

Makes 4 Servings

5 cups tinned low-salt chicken broth or homemade stock** with a bit of salt added
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup polenta
1 cup grated Fontina cheese (packed)
¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Bring broth, thyme & garlic to a boil in heavy large saucepan. Gradually whisk in the polenta. Reduce the heat to medium; cook until polenta is thick & creamy, whisking frequently, about 20 minutes. Add cheeses. Stir until melted. Season with salt & freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.




**If you would like to make your own stock, please go to Making Stock.

Middle Eastern Couscous

This couscous would make an excellent accompaniment to Lamb.

Makes 6 Servings

1 ½ cups water
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ cups couscous
½ cup green peas, blanched if fresh or thawed if frozen
1/3 cup dried apricots, diced
1/3 cup raisins, soaked in hot water if dried out
¼ cup sliced unblanched almonds, toasted**
¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp. lemon rind

Bring water, butter, lemon juice & salt to a boil. Remove from the heat. Add couscous & peas; cover and let steam for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Toss with remaining ingredients & serve.

**If you would like to see how to toast almonds, please go to Toasting Nuts.

Saffron Rice With Chorizo

I think this makes a great side dish for barbecued chicken, fish or seafood but you could have it any time of the year!

Makes 6-8 Servings

¼ cup EVO
1 large onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cups long-grain rice, such as Uncle Ben’s
¾ lb. smoked, fully cooked Spanish chorizo** (see below), cut diagonally into ¼” thick slices
4 cups low salt chicken broth or homemade chicken broth**(see below)
¼ tsp. (scant) saffron threads
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
(opt.) ½ cup thawed frozen peas

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic; sauté until vegetables are tender, about 6 min. Add rice & stir until translucent, about 1 min. Add chorizo, broth & saffron; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover & simmer until rice is tender, 15 – 20 min.  If using peas, add to the rice 5 minutes before it is cooked.  Season with salt & pepper; stir in parsley and serve.

**If you would like to see where to buy chorizo, please go to my Source list.

**If you want to make homemade stock, please go to Making Stock.

Barley Risotto With Leeks and Peas

Quite simply, I love barley whether in soups or a casserole or in my version of barley risotto. It is creamy and dare I say it, “good for you”.

Makes 4 – 6 Servings

1 cup pearl barley, placed in a bowl & covered with cold water for up to 6 hours
1 cup leeks, cleaned & chopped or sliced**
1 cup fresh shelled peas, blanched** or frozen peas, thawed
4 Tbsp. butter
¼ cup white wine
¼ – ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
2 tsp. flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. chives, chopped
6 cups low salt chicken broth or homemade stock**

Drain the barley. Bring the chicken broth to a simmer and keep it hot. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add the butter. When melted & hot add the leeks and sauté until soft.

Add the white wine and cook until almost none remains. Add the barley and sauté for 1 minute. Begin by adding 2 cups of broth; stirring frequently, until thickened and some of the broth has been absorbed. Continue cooking in this manner, adding broth 1 cup at a time, letting each addition be partially absorbed before adding more. Test the barley for doneness after 20 minutes.  Continue adding the broth 1 cup at a time until barley is cooked. The risotto will take up to 10 to 20 minutes longer. When it is almost done, add the peas and cook until they are hot. Stir in the cheese, 2 Tbsp. butter, chives, parsley, salt & pepper to taste. Let risotto stand 5 minutes before serving in bowls.

**Variations: Stir in some chopped proscuitto while the risotto is resting. Add blanched, ½” thick slices of asparagus when adding the peas would be a nice also.

**If you would like to see how to prepare the vegetables, please go to Blanching Vegetables.

**If you would like to see how to prepare stock, please go to Making Stock.