Rice pilaf is one of these dishes that my grandmother and my mom used to make very often when I was growing up. The rice pilaf in Romania is either cooked on the stove or baked in the oven, which I like the best. The traditional main ingredient in the pilaf is the chicken, but people made it with any kind of meat they have available.
My version of pilaf this time has pork meat and few vegetables, like some onion, garlic, frozen peas, peppers and mushrooms. The combination of vegetables and meat gives the rice a beautiful flavor. And the smell in the kitchen….oh my…
So, let me show you how I made it.
I sautéed the meat on the stove with a little bit of oil.
After the meat cooked on both sides, I removed it from the pan and cut it in cubes. Then, I chopped the vegetables. Peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms. I added them to the pan where the meat was cooked.
I added the frozen peas.
When everything was translucent and semi-cooked, I added the meat and the rice and transferred everything to a baking pan. I used this clay baking pan with a lid.
A version of this pan you can find here : Black Casserole Clay Pot, or you can use a cast iron Dutch oven. In case you do not have any of these, you can use a baking pan and cover it with aluminum foil.
I added water to cover the rest of the ingredients and the spices.
I covered it and place it in the oven at 350F for about an hour.
Tip: Check the rice half way to see if it is cooked. If the liquid is absorbed, uncover the pot and let it bake for another 10 minutes to get a light crust on top.
Serve warm. It goes really well with pickled vegetables or a simple salad.