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Pilau and pilaf are first cousins! This dish, which can be rice- or bulghur-based, originated in the Near East. You begin by first browning the rice in butter or oil before adding water or stock. The dish can be variously seasoned and usually contains cooked chopped vegetables, meats, seafood, or poultry. It's easily prepared and can accompany a variety of foods. You'll really be surprised at how versatile it is. Be creative and add whatever chopped vegetables - like yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, green beans - you've got on hand, or whatever suits your fancy. The important thing is the proportion of liquid to rice.
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 pound boiled ham, diced
1 1/2 cups finely chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
2 cups long-grain white rice
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions (green and white parts)
1/2 cup seeded and chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup frozen peas
3 1/2 cups Chicken Stock (page 2) or canned low-sodium chicken broth
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Melt the butter in a large ovenproof saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the ham and cook for 2 minutes. Add the onions, celery, salt, pepper, and bay leaves and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables soften, about 4 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the green onions, tomatoes, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Stir in the peas and chicken stock. Bring to a boilover high heat.
- Remove the pan from the heat and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let stand, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.
- Before serving, fluff the rice with a fork.
Mississippi Mud Cake
This Southern classic combines coffee, bourbon, and chocolate for a delicious crowd-pleaser. For you chocolate lovers who may have watched our show on chocolate, this is a very simple cake to make. Top yours with some homemade ice cream - vanilla's my favorite.
1/2 pound (2 sticks) plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup bourbon
1 1/2 cups strong brewed coffee, cooled
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
- Grease a Bundt pan with 2 teaspoons of the butter, then lightly dust with the cocoa.
- Sift the flour with the baking soda and salt into a bowl, and set aside.
- Warm the bourbon and coffee in the top of a double boiler or a stainless steel bowl set over a pan of simmering water for 5 minutes. Add the chocolate and remaining butter and cook, stirring, until melted and smooth, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Cool slightly.
- Using a whisk or an electric mixer, stir the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, into the chocolate. Add the vanilla and eggs, whisking to mix well.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour. (The cake will be slightly soft in the middle.)
- Remove from the oven and let rest in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Prime Time Emeril. Copyright © by Emeril Lagasse. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.