(Updated and added to Recipe Favorites April 2009) I was thrilled when I learned to make Pilafi (Greek Lemon Rice) from my friend Georgette because it was one of many Greek dishes I’d always loved in restaurants. Georgette recommended Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice to make this, and I was thrilled again when I learned that Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice is a low-glycemic type of rice, even though it’s white rice. Apparently the “converting” of the rice (parboiling) removes some of the starch and makes it slower to digest than regular white rice.
I made this rice over and over when I first started eating the South Beach Diet way, and it’s still one of my very favorite side dishes. In fact, I have a plastic container of rice in my cupboard with this recipe written on the side with a sharpie marker, that’s how often I make it! Don’t be put off by the package directions for a cooking time that is much shorter than this recipe indicates, trust me and cook it at very low heat for the length of time that Georgette recommends.
Georgette’s Really Lemony Greek Pilafi
(Makes about 4 servings, recipe from Georgette, who probably learned to make it from her Greek mother!)
1 cup Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice (not instant)
2 T olive oil (or 1 T butter and 1 T olive oil)
1 tsp. salt
3 T lemon juice (or more)
3 C chicken stock (stock should be hot or boiling when you add to rice)
Start heating stock in a separate pan, or heat in microwave so it’s very hot or boiling. Use a heavy pan with a tight fitting lid. Saute rice in olive oil for 2 minutes., stirring often so it doesn’t brown too much. Add salt and lemon juice to rice and saute 1 minute more.
Add chicken stock slowly and carefully so it doesn’t splash up on you, and let it come to a boil. Then reduce heat to the lowest you can get it and still keep the liquid boiling and cook 30 minutes without peeking at all.
After 30 minutes you are allowed to peek to see if all the liquid is absorbed. If not cook a few more minutes until it has. I find it usually takes 35 minutes, but I can’t keep myself from peeking after 30 minutes.