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Sweet-tart dried cranberries and fresh orange zest add delicious, bright flavors to our Cranberry Rice Pilaf.
Earlier this week, we shared a delicious chicken recipe that was served over this easy and delicious Cranberry Rice Pilaf.
This flavorful, homemade rice pilaf was served as a side dish at a wedding we attended. But, I think Cranberry Rice Pilaf would be a great addition to a Thanksgiving menu – or the menu of any fall dinner party.
If you’ve made this earlier rice pilaf recipe of ours – then you already know that it’s not at all difficult to make a from-scratch rice pilaf. (You’ll never think about buying the boxed rice pilaf again!)
What is rice pilaf?
A pilaf is a rice dish where the rice is cooked in stock or broth along with spices, and other ingredients are typically added such as vegetables or meat. Additionally, the pilaf is also cooked in such a way so that the rice grains don’t stick to one another – and in our recipe, butter and oil prevent the grains from adhering to one another in the cooked dish.
Today’s Cranberry Rice Pilaf follows the same premise: Pan-toasted orzo is combined with long-grain white rice, sautéed vegetables (cooked in that butter and oil mentioned above), herbs and seasonings, and chicken stock – then cooked in a covered pan until the rice and orzo are cooked through. We also added chopped dried cranberries and fresh orange zest to the mixture – adding bright, sweet flavor to the classic rice pilaf ingredients.
Once the rice is cooked, fluff with a fork – then stir in chopped fresh parsley and toasted sliced almonds.
Serve your Cranberry Rice Pilaf as a side dish with just about any meal, or spoon it on a plate as a bed under our Cape Cod Cranberry Stuffed Chicken. (The rice pilaf will soak up the delicious sauce too!)
You may enjoy these other rice recipes:
½ cup uncooked orzo pasta
½ cup sliced almonds
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¾ cup onions, diced small
¾ cup celery, diced small
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1 cup long grain white rice *
½ teaspoon dry thyme
¼ teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 cup dried cranberries
3 cups chicken stock
½ cup orange juice
3 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, (save and mince stems)
In a small saute pan over medium heat, add orzo and toss and cook for five minutes until it is nicely browned. Remove to a plate to cool.
Use same pan over medium heat and add almonds and cook for three minutes tossing often until they are lightly browned. Remove to a plate to cool and pick out any that browned too much.
In a 3-quart sauce pan that has a tight-fitting lid, add butter and oil over medium high heat.
Once melted, add onions, celery and garlic and saute for four minutes.
Lower heat to medium, add the raw white rice and stir into the onion celery mixture. Cook for two minutes stirring often then add the thyme, pepper, zest, cranberries and the browned orzo and stir and cook for one minute.
Add the stock, orange juice and minced parsley stems and bring to a boil. Then reduce to low, cover and cook fifteen minutes. (I leave my pan half off the heat to make sure the rice does not stick if the liquid evaporates too quickly)
After 15 minutes, remove cover, fluff with a fork and stir in the chopped parsley leaves and reserved almonds.
Fluff again, taste for seasoning and serve.
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*Do not use quick-cook rice.