Alain Coumont makes this creamy (yet cream-free) rice dish with lemony Lucques olives and nutty organic Camargue red rice, but almost any green olive or short-grain brown rice would be terrific. Vegans should leave out the tangy goat cheese shavings.
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2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 medium onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
10 cups water
3 cups short-grain brown rice
1 thyme sprig
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups pitted small green olives, halved (6 ounces)
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped basil, plus 24 basil leaves for garnish
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
Freshly ground pepper
4 ounces aged goat cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler
How to Make It
In a large saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 minutes. Add the water, rice, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 30 minutes.
Stir 1 tablespoon of salt into the rice. Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the water has been absorbed, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat; discard the bay leaf and thyme. Stir in the olives, parsley, chopped basil, lemon juice and lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the rice into bowls. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with the goat cheese and basil leaves; serve.
This pilaf needs a wine with substance, like a dry Chenin Blanc from Savennières or Montlouis in France's Loire Valley.
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