Foolproof oven baked Pilau/Pilaf

For 8 people
Try the Mushroom Pilau or Salmon Pilau variations Both delicious!

500g basmati rice
100g butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large sprig fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
8 cardamom pods, split open
3 cloves
4-6 thinly pared strips lemon zest
1l boiling chicken stock or water

Preheat the oven to fan 160C/conventional 180C/gas 4. You will need a medium casserole with a lid. Rinse the rice well in a large bowl of water, then drain.
Melt two-thirds of the butter in the casserole and sauté the onion for about 5 minutes. Add the rice, stir well, then add the herbs, whole spices and lemon zest and cook for a minute. Now pour in the boiling stock or water and mix into the rice, along with 1½ tsp sea salt and ground black pepper to taste.
Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Leave to stand for 5 minutes, then remove the lid and fork through the remaining ingredients (ie butter plus your choice of extras (see below for my favourite variations) until the rice is fluffy and separated.

 

To freeze , just freeze the basic version and add any extras when you reheat for the best results.

Variations:
Foolproof oven baked salmon and dill pilau
Use 200g cooked and flaked salmon and a good handful of chopped dill.

Foolproof oven baked mushroom pilau
Use a mix of sauted mushrooms, (shitake and button is good and a small handful of fresh chopped wild garlic.

Foolproof oven baked Lemon and Wild Garlic pilau
Just increase the lemon zest by double in the basic recipe and at the end stir in a large handful of chopped wild garlic, including flowers, when fluffing up. Amazing!

 

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