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Rice Pilaf with Dried Fruit and Nuts

Makes 1 serving

Equipment: Cutting board, 8-inch knife, 8-inch or 10-inch skillet, lid for the skillet or plate, wooden spoon

1 shallot or 1/2 small yellow onion

1/4 cup dried fruit (apricots, dried cranberries, golden raisins, dates)

Chopped chives or scallions (optional)

Chopped cilantro (optional)

2 teaspoons olive oil or unsalted butter


1/4 cup nuts (pine nuts, pistachios, chopped pecans or slivered almonds are all good)

1/2 cup rice (long-grain like basmati works better than short grain like arborio)

2/3 cup chicken broth

Slice the shallot into fine rings (half-rings, if using half an onion). If using larger dried fruit such as dates or apricots, chop into 1/4-inch dice. Finely chop the chives, scallions and/or cilantro, if using.

In a heavy, 10-inch skillet (you can use your 8-inch if you're careful not to spray rice everywhere), heat the oil or butter together with the sliced shallot and a little salt over medium heat. When the shallot has softened, raise the heat to medium-high and add the nuts, dried fruit and rice. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon for 4 or 5 minutes while you watch the rice grains turn a flat, opaque white.

When all the rice has turned opaque (it should not char) add the chicken broth and a little salt and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat, cover well, and allow to steam for 15 to 20 minutes. You may need to add a little more broth or water if the rice is very dry.

Once the rice is tender, fluff the grains, dry out the pilaf a little more over a low flame if necessary, and garnish with the chives, scallions, or cilantro if using.

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