Thursday, September 02, 2010

Appetite For Life: Rice of a Different Color

Rice of a Different Color

There's a saying, “It's the simple things in life.” To me that means things don't always have to be complex or complicated to be enjoyable. One needs to find comfort and joy in the more simple things. The same applies to food. Gourmet food that takes hours to prepare is often quite delicious, but so are the less complicated, homemade dishes that are our go-to recipes. It's often those dishes that have the richest flavor and provide the deepest enjoyment.

I've learned not to be quick to judge a recipe by its list of ingredients. If I were to do that, I would miss out on many amazing dishes. One such recipe is my grandmother's recipe for Green Rice. More traditional recipes for Green Rice call for broccoli as the main “green” ingredient, but her recipe calls for green onions, green bell pepper, and parsley. The only other ingredients in the dish are rice, chicken stock, oil, salt, and pepper. At first glance, it sounds fairly ordinary and bland. Somehow, these simple ingredients meld together to form a delightful dish that has become a staple in my house.

My aunt included this recipe in our family cookbook a few years ago, changing the name to “Confetti Rice” (to avoid confusion with traditional Green Rice) and added red bell pepper to make it more visually appealing. I have always opted to make it the way Grandma did, maybe because I am a sentimental person, especially when it comes to food. The memories associated with family dishes are vivid and bring my loved ones close to me, even though we may be miles apart.

So, please don’t be afraid to try recipes that look simple at first glance. If they include ingredients you like, give it a try. You never know when you’ll discover a new recipe that will become a favorite and one that will impress your loved ones.

Green Rice

1 ½ cups green onions, thinly sliced
6 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups uncooked rice
4 cups hot chicken broth
½ cup fresh parsley, minced
½ cup green bell pepper, chopped
1½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper

Cook onion (use tops as well as the white part) in olive oil until soft but not brown. Add remaining ingredients. Pour into 3-quart baking dish with a tight lid, or cover with foil. Bake at 350° for 30-45 minutes, or until rice is tender. Toss lightly with a fork before serving.


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