Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Barley, Wild Rice, and Currant Pilaf

Lately I've been working on a new sort-of-blog called Remember These Recipes. It's a place to post images of old family recipe cards that I've found. Because it's not just the dishes themselves that I love, it's the handwriting of my relatives (many who aren't here anymore), the drips on the sides, the little notes people scribbled on the back. Looking through these images I have, of course, been craving some family dinners. This pilaf recipe is one that my grandma made at many many Christmas dinners. I don't have an old card with her handwriting for this. Instead I had to interpret my own bad handwriting and terrible shortcutted directions that I jotted down at her kitchen counter. We ate it with garlic pork chops to try to get close to the garlic pork loin she usually served with it (there's a recipe I'd love to have). I took a bite and immediately remembered sitting on her long couch in the condo with a plate balanced on my lap, a puzzle in progress on the coffee table, Grandpa watching the game from the LayZboy, and family all around. Also, it's delicious.

Barley, Wild Rice, and Currant Pilaf
serves 2 as a generous side

2 T butter
1/2 an onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/ 2 cup wild rice
1/2 cup barley
1/2 cup diced celery and carrots
1/3 cup currants (or raisins in a pinch)
1 bay leaf
1 t dried sage, or 2 fresh leaves, minced
1 t thyme
2 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
salt and pepper to taste
  • In a small saucepan, saute the onion in the butter until it is starting to turn translucent. Add the garlic and saute about 2 minutes more. If you ever feel like the butter is starting to get too brown, dash in a little olive oil.
  • Add the wild rice and saute until the onions and garlic are light brown - about five minutes more.
  • Add the barley, currants, herbs, pepper to taste, and stock. 
  • Bring it to a low simmer with the lid. Stir occasionally to check if it's sticking. If it seems to be drying out too quickly, add about 1/2 cup more water.
  • Check the tenderness of the barley and rice, and the liquid level after 45 minutes. If there is too much liquid near the end, simmer for the last 10 minutes more with the lid off, stirring a little more frequently.
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