Makes: 10 portions. Cooking time: 15-20 minutes. Oven temperature: 200°C
— 75 grams butter
— 75 grams chopped onion
— 500 grams rice
— 1 liter white stock (preferably chicken)
— 1 bay leaf
— 1 clove crushed garlic
(1) Melt the butter in a shallow sided saucepan. Add the onion and cook without coloration.
(2) Add the rice, incorporating it into the butter and onion; lightly fry but do not allow the onions to colour.
(3) Add the hot stock, seasoning, bayleaf and garlic.
(4) Bring to the boil, stirring with a wooden spoon, then cover immediately with buttered greaseproof paper and a lid and place in the preheated oven.
(5) Braise the rice for the prescribed time or until cooked (see Notes for a test to see if cooked).
(6) Separate the grains of rice with a fork, incorporating at the same time a few knobs of butter; season to taste and remove the bayleaf.
(7) Transfer to a clean receptacle, cover with a clean piece of greaseproof paper and retain in a warm area.
(1) Ratio of stock to rice should be approximately two parts stock to one part rice.
(2) To test if cooked test the grains of rice by squeezing between the fingers. When cooked the rice should be firm and nutty but not hard.
(3) Make certain that once the hot stock has been added to the rice it boils and is stirred with a wooden spatule.
(4) For pilaff (and risotto) always use a fork when attending to the rice once it is cooked.
Store in an earthenware container covered with grease-proof paper or cling film.
Place in a shallow pan with a little stock and butter. Cover with grease-proof paper and a lid and reheat in the oven.
Possible problem, cause and solution:
(1) Rice look soggy, lumpy and watery:
— incorrect type of rice used; care must be taken to use the correct type of rice – short grain does not give the best results.
— incorporate the butter into the rice which helps the grains to remain separate.
— rice cooked too slowly; care must be taken to follow the correct method when cooking
the rice as this problem cannot be rectified.
— too much stock added; care must be taken to use the correct quantities as this cannot be rectified later.
— rice and stock not boiling when placed into the oven to braise, care must be taken to follow the correct method when cooking the rice as this cannot be rectified later.
(2) Rice is grayish in color:
— stock was dark; care must be taken in color when preparing the stock as this problem caused by faulty stock cannot later be rectified.
— held in a refrigerator in contact with a metal container; this should be avoided as the problem cannot later be rectified.