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Memories of Bouchon: Red rice pilaf with candied hazelnuts and grapes

As regular readers of this blog know, one of my favourite things to do is travel. I also love discovering new dishes on my travels and bringing them back home to recreate a little piece of a vacation in my everyday life.  A dish I fell in love with on our recent trip to California was the side dish served with the Poulet Rôti - red rice, pickled grapes, wilted arugula, candied hazelnuts & tarragon chicken jus at Bouchon Bistro in Yountville.  You can read about the rest of our meal here)

As I was eating it, I was trying to imprint its taste on my memory so I could recreate it when I got home.  Recently, I made a version of this that I was pretty happy with but it certainly could do with some more experimentation. I made it as a simple pilaf-type dish to accompany roast chicken so it’s sans arugula and tarragon chicken jus but it still tasted pretty fine.

I had been wanting to try a recipe using Ontario Coronation table grapes and whilst the Ontario Tender Fruit Producers have a nice selection of recipes on their site, I felt they might be a great addition to this side dish.

According to Wikipedia, Coronation table grapes (formally, Sovereign Coronation are a “virtually seedless” hybrid variety of table grape developed in Canada.  Coronation grapes are popular throughout Canada, and are available during a short period in late summer and early fall. These grapes are characterized by their “vibrant blue-purple”colour, similar to the related Concord variety.

I caramelized the hazelnuts a couple of days before and stored them in an airtight container.

Verdict? Loved this. Nutty rice and hazelnuts combined with the sweet grapes – perfect.  I will try this again with a jus and some arugula wilted in. This version is topped with a little fresh arugula but I feel the wilting would really add a lovely soft peppery flavour to the dish too.

Thanks to the Ontario Tender Fruit Producers who were generous sponsors of mine, allowing me to attend IFBC this past August in Seattle.

Did you know? I am participating in Project Food Blog – an interactive series of culinary blogging challenges. You can see my latest post entry here and should you feel so inclined, you can help vote me through to the next round until 9pm EST today, Thursday, October 7th.  You have to be a Foodbuzz member to vote but it’s a simple sign-up process. Once you’re signed up, click the red heart to vote.  Thanks in advance.

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29 Responses to Memories of Bouchon: Red rice pilaf with candied hazelnuts and grapes

  1. penny aka jeroxie October 7, 2010 at 08:30 #

    I like the inclusion of grapes. And yes, VOTED!

  2. Mr. Neil October 7, 2010 at 08:51 #

    Miss Mardi will try again, as she had a sous chef to halve and de-seed the whole blasted batch of grapes… ;-)

  3. Michelle October 7, 2010 at 09:55 #

    I think there is no greater compliment than being haunted by something so wonderful from a restaurant that you want to try to re-create it yourself.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite October 12, 2010 at 07:57 #

      Thanks – it was a great meal and it was good to be able to recreate a little piece of it…

  4. A Canadian Foodie October 7, 2010 at 11:47 #

    Looks incredible. I do the same thing when I get home from my travels. I will check the Bouchon Cookbook for you to see if it is in it. One thing I love about Thomas Keller is that he shares his recipes. Ad Hoc is gorgeous book with really simple tips and very duoable. Bouchon has some easily doable recipes, and some daunting once. I have actually made two from The French Laundry – the duck confit and the foie gras au torchon. Usually chefs leave out important information, but he doesn’t.

  5. Toronto Girl West October 7, 2010 at 13:35 #

    I’m usually not a chicken person AT ALL but tonight I’m going to have to go buy myself a lovely free-range organic chicken.

    Thank-you for the inspiration!

    When I find red rice (I live in a very small Rocky Mountain town), I will try your recipe too!

  6. Belinda @zomppa October 7, 2010 at 13:44 #

    What gorgeous colors! You have a wonderful ability to create from memories.

  7. My Restaurants Melbourne October 7, 2010 at 16:12 #

    I love the colour of this dish, so rich

  8. Evan @swEEts October 7, 2010 at 17:45 #

    I love to travel as well and one of my favorite parts is getting to try new foods! It’s great getting inspired by new dishes!

  9. Anna Johnston October 7, 2010 at 20:17 #

    My head is going into overdrive trying to imagine what this would taste like…, it sounds wonderful – going to give this one a go for sure. Thanks Mardi :)

  10. K A B L O O E Y October 7, 2010 at 21:51 #

    I’ve never tasted red rice, but this dish looks beautiful and sounds delicious, so I may have to get some. And I’m sure the chicken juices would be a great addition and might just wilt the arugula to your satisfaction.

  11. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction October 8, 2010 at 19:30 #

    Wow… I can imagine the great flavors in this dish. I’m not much of a rice person, but I think I’ll have to give this a try!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite October 12, 2010 at 07:54 #

      This is definitely a dish for people who don’t much like rice – so many yummy flavours!

  12. Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet } October 8, 2010 at 19:50 #

    I adore Bouchon and try to get there as much as possible. Luckily I only live about one hour away. Your Bouchon inspired dish looks amazing – nice job!

  13. Couscous & Consciousness October 8, 2010 at 22:36 #

    I love the idea of this pilaf – it looks like one I would definitely try.
    Congratulations on making it through to next round of PFB
    Sue :-)

  14. cat November 5, 2010 at 17:21 #

    oh, i love red rice! sadly, i am the only member in my family who truly does, but i make them eat it every so often . . . it’s nutty and complex and so good with fruit and nuts. i usually use dried cranberries and pine nuts but will try the grapes and hazelnuts. i learn so much from your blog, my friend!

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  1. Tweets that mention Memories of Bouchon: Red rice pilaf with candied hazelnuts and grapes -- Topsy.com - October 7, 2010

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mardi, Debbie Boyce. Debbie Boyce said: I must attempt this! @eatlivtravwrite Memories of Bouchon: Red rice pilaf with candied hazelnuts and grapes http://bit.ly/c3m0Bt [...]

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