Vegan Rice Pilaf Inspired by Alton Brown

 Recently, I re-watched the season 1 'Good Eats' episode where he does rice pilaf. This inspired me to come up with my own vegan version. 

I used to eat pre-made pilaf back in the day, but I had never made rice pilaf from scratch before this. 

Alton's enthusiasm for the dish and my voracious rice consumption combined to inspire me to give it a go. 

I also learned from Alton to bloom my saffron in hot water. I didn't know this. . 

Definitely didn't follow his recipe though. This is totally vegan. Funny aside. My brother and I were recently remarking about a container of Oatmilk that proudly displayed a label declaring it 100% vegan. We both chuckled and agreed that if something isn't 100% vegan, then it's 0% vegan.. There's no such thing as 99% vegan. 

Anyway, I also went with a spicier more southwestern flavor profile because that is what I was in the mood to have. 

2 cups dry long grain rice
1 can black beans, thoroughly rinsed
2 small tomatoes, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 ear or 1/2 cup steamed corn
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 habanero, minced
2 tbls olive oil
3 3/4 cups water
2 pinches saffron threads
1 1/2 tbls salt

I steamed my corn in a covered skillet with a shallow layer of water at the bottom. It takes about 10 minutes. Turn the ears over midway. Allow to cool before cutting away from the cob. Set aside. 

As Alton did, I bloomed my saffron. I put it in a plastic measuring cup with 1/2 cup water and microwaved it for 1 1/2 minutes. Set aside. 

Heat the oil. Add all the veg and the salt and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the uncooked rice. Toast the rice until it starts to turn golden. About 5 minutes. 

Add the saffron water, plus 1 1/2 more cups water. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer until the liquid is mostly absorbed. 

Add another 1 1/2 cups waters and continue to simmer covered until that is almost gone. It's at this point I taste my rice for doneness. The liquid in the vegetables and the peculiarities of your particular climate and rice will require more or less water to be cooked properly. While we can know that a certain volume of liquid is necessary, we can't know the exact amount without tasting. 

If necessary, add more water in 1/2 cup increments, allowing it to absorb and then checking the rice again. 

Once the rice is almost, but just barely not tender, stir in the beans, corn and tomatoes. 

Remove to a heat safe vessel. Cover. Let rest 10 minutes.  

Carry over will finish the rice without overcooking it. 


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