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.

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29 thoughts on “Memories of Bouchon: Red rice pilaf with candied hazelnuts and grapes”

  1. 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.

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  3. 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!

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  4. 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 🙂

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  5. 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.

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  6. 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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