Meyer Lemon Rice With Candied Garlic From Michael W. Twitty

May  8, 2021
12 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop Stylist: Amanda Widis.
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • makes 3 to 4 servings (and doubles well)
Author Notes

This is rice that stands all on its own. Sure, it goes great with other dishes, too, but it doesn't need them for bright, lemony greatness—thanks to a few smart tricks and a surprising star topping from culinary historian Michael W. Twitty's new book Rice.

As Twitty writes in Rice, “This is a good lemony rice that pairs well with chicken, fish, or chickpeas. The flavor of Meyer lemons is bright rather than overwhelming, and if you can find some, use them. But the sharper flavor of regular lemons work well too, though you may need to experiment with the amount of juice.”

A few more tips: If you can’t find Meyer lemons, a great substitute is half regular Eureka lemon, half orange (or tangerine, mandarin, or other sweet orange cousin). If you can’t find lemon thyme or lemon basil, regular thyme or basil will also work nicely here. A good trick for cleaning the skillet you've used to make the candied garlic (or any pan with sticky melted sugar), if it's not cleaning easily, it to bring water to a boil in the dirty pan, then carefully pour it down the sink—the stuck sugar will go with it.

Recipe adapted very slightly from Rice: A Savor the South cookbook (The University of North Carolina Press, February 2021).

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Hear more about how this recipe came together, from Michael himself, on our podcast The Genius Recipe Tapes. Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
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Meyer Lemon Rice With Candied Garlic From Michael W. Twitty
  • For the rice
  • 2 cups fish stock (or chicken or vegetable stock), homemade or store-bought
  • 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 sprig lemon thyme or lemon basil
  • 1 1/4 cups long-grain or extra-long-grain white rice, washed in 3 to 4 changes of water and drained
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated Meyer lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • For the candied garlic
  • 3/4 cup vegetable, chicken, or beef stock, homemade or store-bought, or water
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  1. For the rice: Place the stock, lemon juice, salt, and herb sprig in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan with a tight-fitting lid over high heat. Bring to a boil, uncovered, then add the rice, cover, and turn the heat down to low. Simmer until the liquid is absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the lemon zest and let the pan stand, covered, for another 10 minutes. Stir in the butter and parsley and season to taste with pepper.
  2. While the rice cooks, make the candied garlic: In a small saucepan, combine the stock, sugar, and salt and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Place the saucepan over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook the garlic for 15 to 20 minutes, or until soft. Place the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the candied garlic to the skillet and lightly sauté until it turns a light golden-brown, about 5 minutes. Watch closely, as the sugars can burn quickly. Dot the rice with the candied garlic before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • CindyB
  • margotbassettsilver
  • Bonnie
  • borntobeworn
  • Betty Potter
    Betty Potter
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

21 Reviews

CindyB January 22, 2024
I gave Michael Twitty's cookbook "Rice" to my SO just so he could make this recipe. It is astoundingly good, particularly the garlic. We didn't have Meyer lemon; it works fine with regular ones.
CindyB January 22, 2024
PS: Make more than 8 cloves of garlic. You'll be glad you did. LOL
Burton March 29, 2023
Why is this in the Passover tag?
margotbassettsilver March 28, 2023
So disappointed by this! It was barely lemony and bland, and the candied garlic just tasted like garlic. I think it needs the addition of regular lemon in addition to the Meyer lemon, which is quite subtle, especially when cooked. I might try my own version in the future, but will never use this recipe again.
Brooke K. March 21, 2022
Meyer lemon in most things is great but the standout in this recipe for me is the addition of the carmelized garlic. Wow! Will be making this again for sure!
fearlessem March 17, 2022
Made this tonight, only changes were making it in my rice cooker. I don't understand what people liked about this -- it wasn't very lemony, or really very anything in particular? Maybe my lemon zest wasn't as potent as it needed to be since the lemons i used were pretty old, but I won't be trying it again to find out...
eokano December 22, 2021
Do you think long grain brown rice would work with this recipe?
Jessamin May 8, 2021
This was so good and I could really see it going with pretty much anything. Mine was extremely yellow unlike the picture, but I think that was just from the chicken stock I used. So glad that carmelized garlic is a thing in my life now!
kathyegawa May 2, 2021
Delicious! I served with marinated/grilled boneless chicken thighs and roasted vegetables, a bowl of sorts. Made 2x in a week it was so good.
Bonnie April 20, 2021
This was incredibly delicious. The candied garlic was amazing. Planning on making more of the garlic next time. Sooooooooo good!
borntobeworn April 14, 2021
This was fantastic! I would recommend making extra candied garlic and stirring it into the rice while the garlic is still hot (when it cools in the skillet, it clumps together and gets sticky).
cooking44 April 12, 2021
Thought this rice dish was great. Served it as a side with roasted salmon. Although the directions don't mention it, on the podcast you are told to rinse the rice before adding it to the hot broth.
Danielle April 11, 2021
This was the best rice I have ever made! My husband agrees. I served it with garlic shrimp and asparagus and it was the perfect combination. Thank you for the beautiful recipe!
Betty P. April 8, 2021
Sounds delicious but I generally cook my rice in the oven in a tightly covered casserole. No worries about over or undercooking then.
Kristen M. April 10, 2021
The flavors here might work nicely with your method, too—thank you for sharing.
elizabeth M. April 7, 2021
I followed the directions to the letter. This recipe did not turn out anything like the great story told in the article. The rice was dense and undercooked.
Dan F. April 8, 2021
Check the directions on your bag/box of rice for the recommended water/stock to rice ratio and the active cooking time for the rice your using. Sounds like your rice wants more liquid and a longer cooking time. I'd try again and tweak accordingly.
Kristen M. April 10, 2021
I'm sorry you had a disappointing experience, Elizabeth. Can I ask what type of rice you were using? Next time if that happens, I'd add a little more liquid to the pot, cover, and keep steaming till it's tender.
Smaug April 15, 2021
This is a pretty high ratio of liquid to rice; I seldom use more than 3 liquid to 2 rice for long grain, and 20 minutes is plenty of time. Possibly the lid on your pan isn't really tight (I usually use a piece of aluminum foil to tighten it up) or your "low" flame is too high- you might need a flame tamer.
Jean March 16, 2022
My go-to is twice the water to the rice, thus for 1-1/4 cups rice, I would use 2-1/2 cups liquid (& take into account the 2 T lemon juice.) I use Jyoti Supreme brand Basmati rice, which is available at my local Fresh Market grocery. It has always cooked perfectly for me.
Jean March 16, 2022
Just read your review. I use a lot more liquid than you do! Maybe the brand & type of rice make a big difference?