Fruited Rice Pilaf

When Brenda at Meal Planning Magic sent an email about her new Let’s Eat the Alphabet monthly link-up, I though it would be loads of fun.  This month the letters were A and/or B.  We could link up any recipe containing a fruit or a vegetable whose name started with those letters.

I chose apricots and decided to make a side dish that used them.  My choice was to make a rice/vermicelli pilaf similar to a Rice-a-roni side dish.  With the rice/vermicelli I used butter, dried apricots, dried cranberries, dried minced onion, chicken broth, salt, allspice and almonds.

This is a versatile recipe and raisins or other dried fruit can be used with the apricots.  I have varied the seasonings in this and have used nutmeg, curry, cinnamon, and Chinese 5-Spice instead of the allspice.  Walnuts or pecans are good in this also.

I like Calrose rice for this as it doesn’t cook up as soft as long grain rice, but long grain rice can be used.

This makes a very pretty side dish.  I sometimes garnish it with some chopped green onion for additional color.  It is very nice with pork or chicken..

Fruited Rice Pilaf
1 T. butter
1 c. Calrose rice
1/2 c. vermicelli
1/2 c. chopped dried apricots
1/4 c. chopped dried cranberries
1 T. minced onion
2 c. chicken broth (low sodium)
1 t. salt
1/2 t. allspice or other desired spice
!/2 c. sliced almonds, preferable toasted

Melt the butter in a medium size saucepan.  Add the rice and vermicelli and cook until vermicelli starts to turn golden brown.  Watch carefully and stir often.  Add the apricots, cranberries, onion, chicken broth, salt, and desired spice.  Bring to boil.  Cover, turn heat to low, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and stir in sliced almonds.  Turn into a serving dish and garnish with more almonds and sliced green onion.  Serves 4.