Brown Rice Pilaf with Cranberries and Pecans

My family was raised in the deep south where rice was a dietary staple. My paternal grandmother had 7 or 8 mouths to feed so it was her meal stretcher along side vegetables they grew and meat they got from hogs they raised.  Rice with butter. Rice with sugar. Rice with butter, sugar, and milk. Rice with gravy. Rice with eggs.  It was cheap, versatile, and readily available. 

My mom was partial to Minute Rice, so for the first 18+ years of my life, I thought the big red box was the only way to buy rice. One of my favorite breakfasts growing up was sausage and white rice with tons of butter. Not the most nutritionally sound breakfast but it was a yummy way to start the day. About 10 years ago I discovered long grain white rice. The texture was 10 times better than the parboiled stuff and it tasted even better with butter.

Then I went to P.F. Chang’s one day for lunch. Someone at my table ordered brown rice with their meal. Being the “I’ll try anything once” person that I am, I put some on my plate. How could I have waited so long to try this? Boy have I been missing out. I’ve been hooked every since. The fluffy grains and nutty texture forever elevated rice in my mind from share cropper food to something exotic and slightly mysterious.  These days, I almost always have some brown rice on hand. Cook rice with some broth and few herbs and you have yourself a simple, easy to make side dish worthy of company.

This recipe has infinite potential. Use whatever veggies and herbs float your boat. Be sure to start this at least an hour before you want to eat because brown rice can take up to 45 minutes to cook.   


1 cup long grain brown rice

2 1/4 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup diced carrots

1/4 cup celery diced

1/3 cup diced onion

1/4 dried cranberries

1/4 chopped pecans

2 tablespoons diced fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 tsp olive oil


1. Heat saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil.

2. Add onions, celery, and carrots. Saute until vegetables are slightly soft – 7 or 8 minutes.

3. Stir in rice and thyme. Add broth and bring to boil. Lower heat to simmer and cover. Cook for 35 minutes.

4. Remove lid and stir in cranberries, pecans, and parsley. Bring back to a simmer then remove from heat and let sit covered for 10-15 minutes.

5. Fluff with fork and serve.


  1. Sheila Busby
    January 19, 2011

    Thank-you, this sounds good. I never thought about adding cranberries, will try soon.

    • jfoster
      January 19, 2011



Leave a Reply