Rice Pilaf from Good Eats S1E7 – Power to the Pilaf

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Okay, I don’t know what happened here but this is the first Good Eats recipe I’ve done that just straight up didn’t work. I’m talking about the Rice Pilaf from the season one episode “Power to the Pilaf”.

It’s a pretty straightforward recipe. You melt some butter and sweat some peppers and onions in it, then toast the rice, then add the liquid and bring it to a boil, then cover and put it in the oven.

I followed the directions exactly.

First, I did all the prep work so everything would be ready to go in the pan when it was time.

Speaking of pans, I used the exact pan called for in the recipe, a three quart saucier pan, or chef’s pan.

The actual pan I’m using is no longer available, it’ seems to have been replaced with a newer model that’s non-stick and has a glass lid.

I started with the butter, then added in the onions and peppers, sweating them for a few minutes.

Added in the rice and toasted it, making sure I got everything coated in the butter. This is pretty standard for a lot of rice dishes, and pretty much required for risotto, so I’m familiar with this operation.

At this point I’m feeling pretty good. It smells great. I add the chicken stock (actually better than bouillon), the saffron and the water from the saffron, the bay leaf, and bring it to a boil.

I did the whole “wet towel” thing to seal it up, put the lid on and popped it in a 350°F oven.

I left it in the oven for 15 minutes, and then I pulled it out and left it covered and let it sit on the cooktop for another 15 minutes. I pulled the top off and excitedly tasted it, and it was like, totally not cooked at all. Like eating little rocks.

This was odd to me, as I know my oven is fairly accurate. I’ve done enough baking that I would have definitely noticed if 350 indicated was actually significantly less than 350 as all my baked goods would have come out undercooked and needed extra time.

I added about a fourth of a cup of water to it, brought it back to a boil, covered it with the towel again, and put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes.

Then I pulled it out and did another 15 minute rest still covered.

Still totally, inedibly undercooked.

At this point I tried to just lid it up and put it on the cook top, but 10 minutes later the rice was still not cooked but the peas were turning to mush, so I threw the whole thing in the garbage and ordered a pizza.

Super disappointing, because it actually looked and smelled amazing, but no one wants to eat undercooked rice.

I don’t honestly know what happened with this one. It seems to be just me as the reviews for the recipe on foodnetwork.com are overwhelmingly positive. As I mentioned before, I don’t think my oven temp is off, because it cooks everything else as expected, even baked goods that are super sensitive to temperature.

I used standard long grain white rice. I used the appropriate amount of cooking liquid. I used a throughly wet cooking towel to seal up the pan, and I tightly fitted the lid. I used a kitchen timer for both the time in the oven and the time resting afterward.

I’m gonna chalk this one up to bad luck. I might revisit it later, but for now I’m moving on to the next recipe.