Saturday, April 27, 2013

Easy Lemon Rice

If you’ve ever enjoyed lemon rice at a Greek diner - it’s the best side dish to ANY meal.  Grilled chicken is my favorite meal to serve this with.  From start to finish - it takes an hour (tops).  The most tedious step is zesting the lemons - but don’t substitute.  Converted rice makes a real difference in the outcome - so avoid using standard long grain rice.

This side dish has a heavenly light lemon flavor, the rice doesn’t stick together, and (best of all) you can just throw it in the oven and forget about it.  My wonderful neighbor, JoAnn (an amazing cook), shared this with me.

You’ll want to make sure you follow a few important details in the recipe. You might be tempted to ignore placing the baking dish on the bottom oven rack.  For some reason, this just makes it “work”.  Remove your top rack and just use the bottom rack.

If you aren’t familiar with what “converted” rice is - it was developed during WWII so that rice could be air dropped to troops without the risk of weevil infestations.  It also drastically reduced the cooking time of the rice so they could cook meals more quickly.  In case you care (?) - converted rice is “parboiled” - which involves vacuum drying of the whole grain, then steaming, and finally vacuum drying and husking.  Although it has more “processing” - it increases the nutritional value of the rice.  Who knew?

Converted rice does not have the ‘sticky’ consistency of standard long-grain rice.  It makes a prettier presentation in dishes like rice pilaf, etc.  Uncle Ben’s had a corner on the market until recently.  I have found other brands of parboiled (or converted) rice in Sam’s Club & at Costco.

You may wonder about the high baking temperature.  Not sure why this works - but it does.  The only problem is it will make a mess of your baking dish - so transfer it to a prettier serving dish if that concerns you.

I haven’t found anyone who hasn’t loved this method of making lemon rice.  Better than any you’ll have in a restaurant.  It rewarms beautifully in the microwave.

For the recipe, go to:

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