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Today: A simple and rustic meal -- easy peas-y rice with a side of honey sweet carrots.
It doesn't seem logical: How can a simple bag of frozen peas and a sack of rice come together to create such a beautiful dish? Paired with a colorful spectrum of young carrots, glazed with honey and butter until they glisten in jewel tones, your dinner tonight will make you rethink everything you thought you knew about frozen and root vegetables.
But don't think too hard. After a long day, the last thing you want to do is mess with a pile of mixing bowls and cutting boards. These recipes are easy to understand, and perfect for weather that still has lingering memories of frost. The rice and peas are warming, while the bright colors and flavors of the carrots lead you into spring.
Here's how to make it:
Start by making the rice and peas: In a soup pot or dutch oven, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté them until lightly golden. In a separate pot, heat the chicken stock until it begins to simmer. Add 3 cups of the stock, rice, peas, and a good pinch of salt to the onions. Cover the pot and cook at a low boil for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is just tender.
While your rice cooks, prepare the carrots: Cut the greens off of the carrots, leaving a half-inch of stem. Peel the carrots lightly, washing them well before cutting the larger carrots in half lengthwise, leaving the small ones whole. Put a pan filled with 1/2 inch of water on the stove over high heat. Add the carrots, 1 tablespoon of butter per person, and salt to taste. Cover the pan and cook until the carrots are just tender. Then, remove the lid, lower the heat, add a small spoonful of honey, and cook them until the water is mostly gone and the carrots have a shiny glaze.
When your rice is ready, add some freshly grated Parmesan and salt to taste. Remove your carrots from the pan, sprinkle some dill or chervil on top if desired, and serve both right away.
Click through on the recipe photos or titles to see (and save and print) the full recipes, or take advantage of our handy grocery list below.
One 14-ounce bag frozen peas (a full pound is fine, too)
2 tablespoons onion, chopped
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
Carrots (2 to 4 per person)
We're assuming you have butter and salt. If not, be sure to add those to your list, too.
Photos by James Ransom