Simple. Elegant. Delicious. I could not keep my hubby out of it! Honestly, I think he could’ve scarfed the whole bowl down if I had let him! I finally had to just take the bowl away, cover it, and stash it in the fridge or he would have. And we both were “worried” he wouldn’t care for it much. 😉 I’ve been making this creamy rice for many, many years, and it never ceases to please. I’m sure there are plenty of variations of this humble and comforting dish, but this is how I enjoy it. Just because things don’t have a huge list of ingredients and are very frugal, doesn’t mean that it can’t possibly taste fantastic! And the surprising ingredient is heavy mayo! No kidding! I don’t care for light mayonnaise, but if you’re accustomed to it’s taste and texture, you could probably substitute it without changing the consistency of the whole dish one bit. There’s only a small amount in it anyways, just enough to add extra flavor and make it creamy. So it isn’t a total diet buster, unless of course you try to eat the whole pan before I can take it away from you. 😉
I don’t think I’ve eaten so many peas in my whole entire life, but I have really, finally, taken a liking to the sweet baby ones! They really are sweet and have such a nice crunch! Not at ALL like the icky-mushy kind that I was used to as as kid, having to choke them down with huge gulps of milk. Ugh. I like to buy the frozen bags so I can use only what I need, and I never cook them! They thaw almost instantaneously, so you can just fold them in frozen solid, into whatever you’ve cooked, and they’re done without any pre-cooking whatsoever! There’s never any waste and they aren’t packed in a lot of “mystery sodium water” laden with undesirable chemicals. They couldn’t be more handy, either. Just scoop out what you need and you’re good to go!
This is also a comforting dish for when you just plain don’t feel good, too. You can also adapt this to using instant rice, too, if you need something super quick. I’ve made it with Minute Rice before years ago and it was fine. Not as good as “real rice” of course, but nothing really wrong with it, either. You can up the mayo for extra creamy, but just don’t overdo so the rice doesn’t turn into a mushy mess.
Along with the peas and rice is also a small amount of onions, butter (while cooking), and some chicken base for extra flavor. Please, please, please don’t let me catch you still using those “cubes” of chicken bouillon. Tsk, tsk! I haven’t bought them in eons because they’re frankly pretty awful. The best thing I’ve found is “Superior Touch Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base”. It has real chicken in it and there’s just no comparison. They make quite a selection of products, but I’ve only tried their chicken and beef bases to date. It’s a bit more expensive than those dried square rocks, but, you get what you pay for. 😉 You won’t believe what it can do for your chicken noodle soup. Really, simply a must to have in the kitchen.
So if you’re in need of an easy, yet delicious, side dish on a dime that doesn’t break the bank so that the budget can be spent on better quality main dishes and desserts perhaps, this one is a really nice compliment to so many delicious meals! Frugal can still be fantastic, and I wouldn’t doubt it if it was literally pennies per serving! And such a nice change of pace from the usual potatoes. It’s also a clever way to sneak in a few veggies for the “green stuff” haters! 😉 Trust me, getting the hubs to eat his vegetables is always a battle to the death. And if you want to turn this into a simple main dish, along with the peas, you can fold in some bacon and diced fresh tomatoes for a “BLT” style of dish except with peas instead of lettuce! Add some leftover turkey, serve with buttered toast, and you’ve got a “club” – – and wah-lah! Lunch is served! 😉
So enjoy the weekend, save your money in the bank for the upcoming holidays, and have a most wonderful day! 🙂
CREAMY AUSTRIAN RICE & BABY PEAS
1 cup raw rice
2 cups + *2 Tbl. water, (*I add the extra water so it doesn’t stick on the bottom and the rice gets all the way done)
1 Tbl. butter
1 tsp. Superior Touch Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
1/2 tsp. garlic
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup heavy mayonnaise, more if desired for extra creamy
1/2 cup frozen sweet baby peas, unthawed
In medium saucepan, place rice, water, butter, chicken base and garlic, cover with tight fitting lid, and heat over medium-high heat until boiling. Stir quickly, recover, and reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-17 minutes. (*I always do mine for 17 minutes over very low heat.) Remove from heat and let rest 5 minutes.
Stir in mayonnaise well, gently fold in peas. Recover and let sit 5 more minutes. Serve hot.