Pilaff a la Grecque

Use a good quality long-grain rice, such as Basmati, for this dish to ensure that the grains of rice remain separate when cooked. Pilaff a la Grecque (peel-ahf ah lah grek) may be served with lamb kebabs or with a dish of sauteed aubergines .2 oz. plus

1 tablespoon butter medium-sized onion, finely chopped garlic cloves, crushed

12 oz. long-grain rice, washed, soaked in cold water for

30 minutes and drained

8 oz. button mushrooms, wiped clean

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 ½ pints home-made chicken stock, hot

1 bay leaf thinly pared rind of

1 lemon, in one piece

2 tablespoons slivered almonds

2 tablespoons raisins

8 large black olives, stoned

In a saucepan, melt 2 ounces of the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the onion and garlic and fry for 5 to 7 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown.

Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Add the mush-rooms, and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes.

Stir in the salt and pepper and pour in the stock.

Increase the heat to high and add the bay leaf and lemon rind. When the stock is boiling vigorously, cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer the pilaff for 20 to 25 minutes or until the rice is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed.

Meanwhile, in a small frying-pan, melt the remaining butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the almonds and raisins and fry them, stirring con stantly, for 5 minutes or until the almonds are lightly browned and the raisins puffed up.

Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

Remove the pilaff from the heat. Remove and discard the bay leaf and the lemon rind. Spoon the pilaff on to a warmed serving platter and scatter the almonds, raisins and the olives over the top.

Serve immediately.

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