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Chickpea, Chorizo and Brown Rice Pilaf

Chickpea, Chorizo and Brown Rice Pilaf. Illustrates FOOD-NOURISH (category d), by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick, special to The Washington Post. Moved Monday, Sept. 30, 2013. (MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Marge Ely)

Chickpea, Chorizo and Brown Rice Pilaf. Illustrates FOOD-NOURISH (category d), by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick, special to The Washington Post. Moved Monday, Sept. 30, 2013. (MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Marge Ely)

A perfect side

Deciding on the right side dish to serve is sometimes more challenging than choosing an entree.

I lean heavily on the versatile pilaf: a rice dish cooked with vegetables, beans and/or spices. Here, a small amount of spicy chorizo entices my family to eat chickpeas and brown rice. Both fresh and cooked versions work well in this recipe.

Chickpea, Chorizo and
Brown Rice Pilaf

1 teaspoon mild olive oil or vegetable oil

4 ounces fresh chorizo, casings removed; or 3 ounces smoked, cooked chorizo, cut into quarters lengthwise, then thinly sliced

3∕4 cup finely diced onion

11∕2 cups cooked or canned, no-salt-added chickpeas (from one 15.5-ounce can, drained and rinsed)

1 cup raw long-grain brown rice

kosher salt

21∕4 cups homemade or no-salt-added chicken broth, or more as needed

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the oil in a 21∕2- to 3-quart ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring every minute, for 5 to 6 minutes, until the chorizo starts to lightly brown. (If using fresh chorizo, use a wooden spoon to break up the sausage into smaller pieces as you stir, and be sure to cook it until it has lost its raw look.) Add the onion and stir to coat; reduce the heat to medium and cook for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring as needed, until the onion softens.

Add the chickpeas and rice. Season with salt to taste, stirring thoroughly to incorporate. Pour in the broth, stir once and increase the heat to medium-high.

Once the liquid comes to a boil, cover the pot and transfer to the oven.

Bake for 45 minutes, then check for doneness. If the rice is undercooked and all of the broth has been absorbed, add 1∕2 cup of broth, cover and return to the oven for 5 to 8 minutes.

If there is still liquid pooling in the bottom of the pot, cover and return to the oven for 5 to 8 minutes until the broth is absorbed.

When the pilaf is done, taste it and add salt if needed. Stir in the parsley with a fork, fluffing the rice at the same time.

Serve warm.

Makes about 51∕2 cups (6 to 8 servings)

The Washington Post

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