Sunday, 29 April 2012

Chickpea and Apricot pilaf

Do you ever get stumped by what to put with meat. I love potatoes but there's a limit to how exciting they can be. Then there's rice, pasta, noodles etc but they all look the same and can lack texture. To accompany the previously posted roast chicken with saffron and hazelnuts, I turned to Silvena Rowe's Pilaf.

The pilaf is not packed with flavour, however it still tastes great and as the roast chicken dish is particularly fragrant, it doesn't need to. The combination works well and the textures of the crunchy nuts, fluffy rice, slightly chewy apricots and the al dente chickpeas prove how simple it is to produce a dish that delivers on all fronts. A lot of people probably think that I am nuts, however I'm really enjoying cooking with them. It's not something that us Brits as a whole tend to do. Yet, this w/e, I've used pistachios, hazelnuts and pine nuts with all three having completely different tastes.

Ingredients (serves 4) : 2 sliced shallots, 20g butter, 80g vermicelli, 100g cooked chickpeas, 80g dried and chopped apricots, 300g short grain rice, 400ml veg stock, 80g chopped pistachios

1. Gently fry the shallots in the butter in a saucepan. Add the vermicelli and stir until golden.
2. Add the chickpeas, apricots and rice and mix thoroughly. Pour in the stock and bring to boil.
3. Reduce to a gentle simmer, season and cover with a lid. Make sure that the liquid doesn't dry up.
4. Once the rice is cooked, add the nuts and remove from heat. Cover with a cloth and replace lid.
5. Allow to rest for 15 mins which will make the dish light and fluffy. To serve, pile high on a plate.

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