One of the first foods I had to give up upon being diagnosed with diabetes was white rice. White rice has an extremely high glycemic index and a bowl of it can raise my blood sugar almost as quickly as a bowl full of granulated sugar. Luckily, brown rice, which is much healthier (even for non-diabetics), has a lower glycemic index and is relatively safe for diabetics. Alas, most recipes that call for rice call for white rice, and it is virtually impossible to find a recipe for rice pilaf that uses plain brown rice. There are many recipes online that call for instant brown rice, but despite the evidence out there that it is nutritionally no different from the real thing, I don't trust or like the stuff. Therefore, I had to come up with my own simple and easy recipe that uses regular brown rice but still contains all the buttery goodness and flavor of rice pilaf. Just to be clear, this side dish isn't totally safe for diabetics--it does contain rice, pasta, and butter after all--but it is a far sight better for you than standard rice pilaf. As an added bonus, it is virtually indistinguishable from white rice pilaf, even by the exacting standards of my three year old toddler.
Bring broth to a boil, add rice, and cover. Simmer over low heat. Set a timer for one hour, but come back for the next step at thirty minutes.
When there is about thirty minutes left on the timer, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add orzo and cook, stirring occasionally, until deep brown. It should take roughly ten to fifteen minutes.
Carefully pour orzo and butter into the pot with the boiling rice (it will sizzle loudly). Stir heavily and cover. There should be close to fifteen minutes left on the timer. When it runs out, immediately remove the pot from the heat and let it cool, covered, for at least five minutes.
Stir, add plenty of salt and pepper, and serve.
-e. magill 4/27/2012
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