- Course: Side Dish
- Skill Level: Easy
- Cost: Moderate
- Favorited: 19 Times
Rather than serving a hill of plain rice sitting next to a scoop of unadorned greens, meat, poultry, or game, Greeks often mix the two together. In this way the two enliven one another. Such a mixture invites further flavoring with herbs and spices. Almost all Greek pilaf mergers are made in the same way. Spinach rice is the paradigm, the Greek word for “example.” The choice of ingredients to mix with the rice is yours.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, or the white part of 3 leeks, finely chopped
- 1 cup rice, preferably Arborio or other short grain rice
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes with their juices (about 2 medium-size tomatoes)
- 3 pounds fresh spinach, well rinsed, trimmed, and torn into large pieces
- ½ to ¾ cup water
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Pinch of ground nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and rice and stir until both are translucent, about 7 minutes.
2. Stir in the tomatoes, spinach, and ½ cup water. Cover, reduce the heat, and cook until the rice is soft and the liquid has been absorbed, about 12 minutes. Add more water if the liquid is absorbed before the rice is cooked.
3. Stir in the remaining ingredients and remove from the heat. Fluff with a fork and serve.
Rice Pilaf with Shrimp, Squid, or Snails: To make a seafood or snail pilaf, instead of the spinach use 1 cup raw small shrimp, 1 cup cleaned squid cut into rings, or 2 cups canned snails. Cook the rice as described, stirring in the tomatoes and water as described in Step 2. Stir in the shrimp during the last 3 minutes, or the squid during the last 5 minutes of cooking time. If using snails, add them to the skillet with the onion and rice.
© 2004 Susanna Hoffman