Rice Pilaf with Dried Cherries and Toasted Pistachios

Rice Pilaf with Dried Cherries and Toasted Pistachios Recipe

This rice pilaf is a perfect side dish for poultry dishes, such as roast duck legs with caramelized shallots and garlic or Cornish hens with braised cabbage and apple.–Diane Rossen Worthington


The clever cook could add dried cranberries or apricots instead of the cherries, and almonds or pine nuts instead of pistachios.

Rice Pilaf with Dried Cherries and Toasted Pistachios Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 30 M
  • Serves 4 to 6


  • 1/4 cup unsalted raw pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain rice
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dried pitted cherries
  • 3 cups hot water, vegetable broth, homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves


  • 1. Heat a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the pistachios and toss gently for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they begin to brown lightly. Remove to a small bowl.
  • 2. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Saute the scallions for 2 minutes, or until softened.
  • 3. Raise the heat to high. Saute the rice for about 3 minutes, or until well coated and lightly browned. Add the cherries and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium, add the hot water, stir with a fork, and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low.
  • 4. Simmer the rice for about 20 minutes, or until all liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Season with salt and pepper and add the parsley and pistachios. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve immediately.


  • For advance preparation, make the rice pilaf 2 hours ahead and keep it at room temperature. Reheat it carefully in the top of a double boiler over medium heat for 10 minutes.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Useable way way beyond a side for poultry, I made this as a side for a Middle Eastern dinner feast I was preparing. Apricots would certainly have worked as well, and subbing almonds or pine nuts or even walnuts would also have worked terrifically well. Around Thanksgiving, this would be great with the suggestion of dried cranberries and maybe even pecans. The technique of sautéing the scallions in the oil before adding the rice, then sautéing the rice, and then adding the cherries before cooking, created a super-flavorful pilaf, and the technique is well worth keeping to adapt to other grain dishes as well. I used the hot water option over stock, because I felt this dish had flavor aplenty already and would not lose anything without flavor from the stock, and I was right. The fresh parsley, right from our garden, not only added green freshness to the taste, but also visually. Around Christmas, the red fruit and green parsley would look festive, but the rest of the year it does not look out of place. I didn't quite manage to plan well enough to serve immediately, but I still had a delicious and beautifully presentable pilaf. I would have liked to try the re-heating technique; unfortunately, we had no leftovers! The estimate that one recipe serves four to six is accurate, though it wouldn't hurt to make extra. It was universally enjoyed among our diners. Among other dishes, this meal included Turkish Baked Eggplant with Chile, Feta, and Mint; Jerusalem Salad; Warm Lentil Salad; and Sweet Tea.

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