Lebanese Rice Pilaf

Lebanese Rice Pilaf

Lebanese Rice Pilaf

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Lebanese Rice Pilaf is a wonderful side dish for any occasion.  Tender rice gets speckled with toasted vermicelli noodles and topped with toasted pine nuts or almonds for added flavour and crunch.  The toasted vermicelli brings the rice to life with its nutty flavour and chewy texture.  Using ghee in this recipe adds extra flavour and helps the vermicelli turn deep amber in colour.  Ghee is butter, in which the milk solids have been toasted and then removed by straining to leave behind a nutty-tasting butter that can be used for higher-heat cooking because the milk solids have been removed and therefore don’t burn.

What makes a rice dish a pilaf?  This definition seems to vary a little between sources but generally refers to rice that is seasoned by using stock/broth and sometimes meat and vegetables. In other definitions, the rice is sautéed in butter or oil before adding the stock or broth.  Today’s recipe includes the use of chicken broth to add extra flavour and also lightly sautés the rice with ghee-laden vermicelli.  The benefit of sautéing the rice is to coat the rice grains with fat to create a fluffier rice that does not stick together.  Rinsing the rice well with cool water to remove the excess starch also helps to ensure fluffy rice. 

Today’s Lebanese Rice Pilaf is easy and produces fluffy, flavourful rice every time, so there’s no excuse to eat boring rice. Enjoy!

Looking for more delicious side dishes?

Potato and Mushroom Gratin

Creamy Caper Smashed Potatoes

Mushroom Herb Rice

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Lebanese Rice Pilaf

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting Time 5 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 8 people

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ghee or olive oil
  • 3/4 cup vermicelli pasta
  • 2 cups long grain rice like basmati
  • 1 litre chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds

Instructions

  • Heat ghee in a large skillet. Add vermicelli and cook stirring frequently until a deep amber colour.
  • Rinse rice with cool water to remove the excess starch. Drain well and add to the pasta stirring to coat the rice grains in the fat.
  • Add chicken broth and salt. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Fluff the rice and move it to a serving dish if desired. Garnish with parsley and toasted nuts.

Beef and Gruyere Pinwheels

Beef and Gruyere Pinwheels

Beef and Gruyere Pinwheels

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It’s hard not to love the convenience of pre-made puff pastry. It allows you to quickly create sweet or savoury pastries with ease. Today’s Beef and Gruyere Pinwheels are a riff on the classic roast beef and horseradish dinner. Fresh dill, horseradish and deli beef pack in the flavour. It’s all nestled in crisp puff pastry with Gruyere cheese for a crisp, cheesy bite that’s hard to resist. There’s no special occasion required to enjoy these tasty pinwheels because they come together so easily using sliced deli roast beef and pre-made puff pastry dough. Nevertheless, they do make an amazing party snack that can be prepped in advance. So you don’t have to spend unnecessary time in the kitchen away from your guests.

Let’s have a look at pre-made puff pastry.  It’s generally available in pre-rolled sheets, which is super convenient or in block.  The blocks require more rolling but the benefit is that you have full control over the thickness of the pastry. Regardless of which you use it is important to thaw the pastry in the refrigerator.  The cooler pastry will roll out more evenly and the butter will retain more of its structure and layers within the dough.  It’s also more manageable to move around and manipulate.  Be sure to choose a pastry that is made with butter for best flavour.

If you love pre-made puff pastry as much as I do, here are a few more recipes to keep you baking.

Mushroom Gruyere Tart

Strawberry Rhubarb Danish

Banana Tart Tatin

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Beef & Gruyere Pinwheels

Servings 18 slices

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup creamed horseradish, well drained
  • 2` tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
  • as needed freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1 sheet pre-made puff pastry
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced roast beef

Instructions

  • Mix mayonnaise, horseradish, dill and pepper. Set aside.
  • Whisk one large egg and set aside.
  • Roll puff pastry sheet to a 12"x 12" square.
  • Spread the mayonnaise mixture evenly over the puff pastry, leaving an inch border at the back end.
  • Evenly layer the beef slices over the mayonnaise.
  • Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the beef slices.
  • Brush the back edge with egg wash.
  • Roll up evenly and tightly.
  • Wrap snuggly in plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of an hour but up to 24 hours in advance.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking tray with parchment.
  • Remove the roll from the plastic wrap and trim the ends to clean up the edge.
  • Cut into approximate 1/2" slices and arrange them on your baking tray spacing an inch apart.
  • Brush the top and sides of each roll with the egg wash.
  • Bake in pre-heated oven for 20-22 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool on the tray for a couple of minutes before moving to a serving plate. Serve warm.

Notes

-You can use 2 tsp of dried dill in place of fresh, however fresh is recommended.
-Be sure to drain the horseradish well.

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Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Chicken

Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Chicken

Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta

with Chicken

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Weeknight cooking may seem daunting at times when trying to juggle feeding your family, appointments and activities.  It doesn’t have to be complicated, some of the best dishes are quick and simply. Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Chicken is a fantastic combination of garlic, sun-dried tomato pesto and cream.   This gloriously creamy pasta dish is a perfect family meal yet delicious enough for company. 

I enjoy boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this recipe but you can easily use boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead if that is your preference.  Shrimp is also a fantastic combination as well. Or skip the protein all together for a great meatless meal option. Using store bought sun-dried tomato pesto helps to make this recipe quick and easy.  There are plenty of brands out there to choose from and I cannot say that one is better than the other is, so find one you like and keep it at the ready.  You’ll want this gorgeous dish on repeat!!

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Chicken

Cook Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces fettuccine
  • 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs 3-4 depending on size
  • as needed salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomato pesto
  • as needed freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Cook pasta according to package directions in well-salted water. Drain well, reserving a cup of pasta water.
  • While the pasta is cooking, season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add chicken and cook until browned on both sides and cooked through. About 5-6 minutes per side.
  • Remove the chicken to a clean dish and cover it with aluminum foil to keep it warm.
  • To the same skillet add the minced garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes over low heat.
  • Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping up the browned bits left in the pan and allow the wine to reduce slightly.
  • Add chicken broth, stir and reduce for 1-2 minutes.
  • Stir in heavy cream and reduce for 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened.
  • Add sun-dried tomato pesto and stir over low heat until combined. Remove from heat.
  • Slice cooked chicken into strips.
  • Add chicken and pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and a generous splash of pasta water. Toss to combine well over low heat.
  • Serve immediately with extra Parmesan cheese if desired.

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Chocolate RumChata Cake

Chocolate RumChata Cake

Chocolate RumChata Cake

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What sets this cake apart is the irresistible fluffy frosting. In all essence, it’s a whipped ganache, however, I add an extra dose of heavy cream to the ganache before it’s whipped to create extra volume. It’s creamy, extra fluffy and let’s not forget it’s punched up with RumChata cream liqueur for a blissful addition to the chocolate cake.

The cake itself is a one-bowl wonder made using hot boiling water. What the hot water does is give the leaveners a little extra push at the beginning by creating a warm environment. Most baking powders these days are double-acting, meaning they activate when in contact with moisture and again when exposed to heat. The cake rises up when baking but once removed from the oven the center will fall slightly to create a “fudgier” texture. The hot water also helps to dissolve the sugar and it brings out the chocolate flavour of the cocoa powder by hydrating it. Other reasons to use hot water include helping keep the cake moist and it creates a nice smooth crumb. This is one of my go-to cakes because of its simplicity, and I have no doubt it will be a favourite of yours as well. Enjoy!

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Chocolate RumChata Cake

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

Icing

  • 5 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, divided
  • 2 tbsp RumChata Cream Liqueur
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar

Cake

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup RumChata Cream Liqueur
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup boiling hot water

Instructions

Icing

  • Add chocolate chips to a medium bowl.
  • Heat 1/4 cup of the heavy cream until scalding and pour over the chocolate. Gently shake to ensure the cream covers the chocolate.
  • Allow to sit for 5-7 minutes to allow the hot cream to melt the chocolate.
  • Stir gently until smooth and glossy.
  • Add RumChata and stir to combine. Cover and chill until cold and firm.
  • Add the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream and powdered sugar to the chilled ganache.
  • Whip on low until combined and then whip on high until light and fluffy.

Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Add all ingredients except hot water to a large bowl.
  • Beat on low to combine and then increase speed and beat until smooth and paler in colour, about 3 minutes.
  • Pour in hot boiling and mix gently until combined.
  • Spray a 9" x 13" cake pan with non-stick spray.
  • Pour in batter and bake for approximately 35 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
  • The cake will settle a little in the middle as it cools. Once completely cool spread with icing and cut into desired squares.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Danish

Strawberry Rhubarb Danish

Strawberry Rhubarb Danish is sweet strawberry and rhubarb fruit filling, layered on a cream cheese filling and nestled in flaky puff pastry.

Strawberry Rhubarb Danish

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Sweet strawberries and Rhubarb nestled within puff pastry.

Strawberry Rhubarb Danish is a “perfect for summer” treat. I think rhubarb is a love or hate it kinda food. It is quite tart and fibrous, but this perennial vegetable is wonderful in baked goods. Often cooked with sugar and/or other fruits such as strawberries for pies, tarts and jams. It can also be pickled, used in chutney, cake, sauces and drinks. Often a large plant and when it grows, it really grows, so you’ll want many different uses if you think you’re gonna use all the stalks. Of course you can freeze the stalks too!! It will not be as crisp when thawed, but if cooking it anyway, you’re not impacting too much.

Strawberry Rhubarb Danish is sweet strawberry and rhubarb fruit filling, layered on a cream cheese filling and nestled in flaky puff pastry.

Today’s “perfect for summer” Strawberry Rhubarb Danish uses the classic combination of rhubarb and strawberries. The rhubarb and strawberries are first cooked with sugar to help sweeten and break down the fibrous texture into a jammy mixture. This gorgeous fruit combo is added to a layer of sweetened cream cheese and nestled within flaky, golden puff pastry. The final touch is a generous drizzle of vanilla glaze. It is lovely for brunch, dessert or enjoyed with coffee or tea.

Strawberry Rhubarb Danish is sweet strawberry and rhubarb fruit filling, layered on a cream cheese filling and nestled in flaky puff pastry.

The rhubarb and strawberries can be cooked ahead of time and using pre-made puff pastry makes it a snap to assemble and bake. This tart is best eaten the day it is made as the rhubarb has the tendency to weep after it sits for too long. Much like it would if made in pie form. If you do have left overs, allow to cool completely before covering and refrigerating.

As an added note rhubarb leaves are toxic, causes mild symptoms such as stomach upset to more serious issues like kidney failure, yikes!!

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Strawberry Rhubarb Danish

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

Fruit Filling

  • 1 cup diced strawberries
  • 1 cup diced rhubarb
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Layer

  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pastry

  • 1 sheet thawed frozen puff pastry
  • 1 large room temperature egg
  • 1 tbsp milk

Glaze

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2-1 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Fruit Filling

  • In a medium pot combine fruit and sugar.
  • Cook over medium for 5-7 minutes until fruit is soft and jammy.
  • Whisk together cornstarch and water and stir into fruit mixture. Allow mixture to come to a full boil, stirring often.
  • Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.

Cream Cheese Filling

  • In a small bowl combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.

Pastry

  • Preheat oven to 425°F
  • Lay the puff pastry sheet on a large sheet of parchment paper.
  • Sprinkle lightly with flour and roll to a 12"x12" square.
  • Cut approximate 4" fingers on parallel sides of the pastry, leaving an uncut 4-5" center.
  • Move cut pastry to your baking tray.
  • Spread Cream cheese filling over the center uncut portion of the pastry, leaving a 1/4" border at each end to crimp the pastry together. Top with fruit filling.
  • Alternate the cut pastry fingers over the filling, tucking in the ends if needed.
  • Whisk together egg and milk. Brush liberally and evenly on the pastry.
  • Bake in pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes until golden.
  • Remove from oven onto a cooling rack and allow to cool to slightly warm/room temperature before proceeding.

Glaze

  • In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Whisk until smooth and a drizzling consistency.
  • Once the pastry has cooled, drizzle with glaze and cut into 1 1/2" slices and serve.

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I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com