I love rice based dishes and therefore the mushrooms that I had bought to make a soup ended up in this pilaf. Mushrooms and rice go together very well but I did not want to cook the mushrooms along with the rice as it makes the mushrooms soggy and the rice mushy. So I cooked the rice seperately and then mixed it with the rest of the ingredients.
Caramelized onions, toasted pistachios, cashews, dried cranberries and mushrooms make this rice extremely flavorful and delicious. I decided to serve the rice by filling them in poblano peppers and then grilled it in the oven for about 15 minutes.
1 cup long grained rice like basmati
1 red onion thinly sliced
about 4 cups sliced baby portabella mushrooms
1/4 cup mixed nuts (raw cashews and pistachios)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 bay leaf
2-3 black cardamom
1 teaspoon black garam masala (I like to use shan's zafrani masala)
salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil to cook
1 teaspoon ghee or butter for flavor (optional)
Cilantro for garnishing
1/4 cup feta cheese
2 poblano peppers
Wash and soak the rice for about half and hour. Then boil it with about two and a half cups of salted water until done. Each type of rice cooks differently so cook in a way so that the rice gets cooked but the grains do not stick to one another.
Heat some olive oil and cook the onion on low or medium heat till they are caramelized. Keep aside. Now in the same pan add the sliced mushrooms bay leaf and cardamom. Let them cook for about 10 minutes till the mushrooms get slightly brown. Add the nuts and more oil if needed or a teaspoon of ghee/butter. That gives it a very nice fragrance and flavor. Once the mushrooms have browned add the salt, pepper, garam masala and dried cranberries.
Now fluff the rice and mix it with the cooked mushrooms and nuts. Add the caramelized onion and chopped cilantro. It can be served just like this or would be great with a cup of tomato soup. I filled the rice in poblano peppers and baked it in the oven at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes, then topped it with feta and baked again for 5 minutes.
I later thought that a drizzle of balsamic vinegar would be wonderful over the rice and peppers. I did not have that at home but next time I would definitely try it.