What is wintery about this pilaf? The vegetables. What vegetables, you ask? Exactly. Some things we make are overtly vegetable-laden. Other times, we run a covert operation. When I need assurance of a peaceful dinnertime with vegetables eaten whether they know it or not, dishes like these are crafted. My family scarfed down this rice and along with it, a whole butternut squash and one bunch of rainbow chard. Yes, it is true. A happy dinnertime experience and veggies eaten can happen all at once!
We enjoyed this rice with some grated raw cheese, creme fraiche, fresh cilantro, and avocado. Simple and scrumptious. It would also be delicious over a bed of (un)refried beans in a bowl, wrapped up in a special burrito, tossed in some enchiladas, or included in a homemade Chipotle dinner.
Winter Mexican Rice Pilaf
Prep time: 15 min; bake time: 45 min; yields about 6 servings
- 1 1/2 cups rice (I used half wild rich and half short grain. It's what I had and it worked.)
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 winter squash (butternut, acorn, pumpkin, spaghetti...)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 bunch dark green leafies (chard, spinach, kale...)
- 1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- pepper to taste
- 12-24 hours before serving, soak rice in water and vinegar and cover.
- When you are ready to prepare the dish, heat oven to 375º. Slice squash in half, scoop out seeds, and place in baking dish, cut side down. Add about a cup of water to the dish and bake for 45 minutes, or until squash is soft and easily scoopable with a spoon.
- While the squash bakes, drain and rinse rice. Place in large pot and add chicken stock. Cover and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam and turn heat to medium. Add chili powder and cumin. Simmer, covered, until the rice is fully cooked.
- While rice simmers, de-vein dark leafy greens of choice and place in food processor. Mince. When squash is done baking, allow to cool enough to handle, then scoop out flesh. If it's watery enough to mix into the rice, dump it straight into the rice. If it's still chunky, scoop the squash meat into food processor and run it until the squash is smooth. Stir squash, minced greens, garlic, salt, and pepper into rice. Heat through and serve warm. Freezes well.