Autumn Rice Pilaf
Autumn Rice Pilaf

Did you have a happy Halloweekend? We didn’t do anything particularly holidayish except that I did buy my trick or treat candy. Hope I bought the right amount—you know, enough that you’ve got plenty to hand out to the kiddies with a few goodies left over for yourselves to indulge in but not too many leftovers that you’ve got a huge bowl of candy sitting around and tempting you! Anyway, it was wet and wild around here—I barely left the house on Saturday and cooked 2 different chilis for a Sunday night get together with my family—this butternut squash and black bean version and a new creamy chicken one that I will blog as soon as I can get some decent photos because it is just super. And to be filed under the heading of mild tragedy: I broke my 25 year old Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer kneading dough. It’s a long sad story, sniff, sniff—too harrowing to go into detail on a Monday morning, but suffice it to say that I will now have to break down and shell out big bucks for a new one. Yikes! We also binge watched Sharp Objects on HBO (that is one wacky show but we are oddly addicted—love Amy Adams) and fought over the leftovers of this surprisingly awesome seasonal rice pilaf which I made last week but didn’t get a chance to share with you. Thought I’d never get to the rice, right? Well, thanks to the seamless transition, I can now tell you that it’s the perfect blend of starchiness accompanied by tender chunks of butternut squash and the zing of jalapeño pepper. Yum! Totally worth it. Take my advice and whip it up soon, on some night you’re making a boring main dish because all anyone will be talking about is the rice anyway. I’m already thinking about making it again tonight and I know that I won’t hear any complaints—at least not about the rice. How’s that for a Monday morning ramble?!!

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Autumn Rice Pilaf

Makes 8-10 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes; Cook Time: 20 minutes


  • 2 cups long-grain rice

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and ribbed, minced

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds), seeded, peeled and cut into cubes

  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

    The Recipe

    1. Place the rice in a fine-meshed sieve in a bowl and run cold water over it, swishing the rice around. The water in the bowl will look cloudy. Dump it out and repeat the process a few more times, until the water looks mostly clear.

    2. Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium heat until very hot. Add the onion and jalapeño and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the rice is lightly toasted.

    3. Add in the squash and broth and a large pinch or two of salt. Stir well and turn the heat to high. Let the mixture boil for 8-10 minutes, until the stock has reduced quite a bit. Turn the heat to low, cover the pot and cook for another 20 minutes, until the rice is tender. Taste and season with more salt and pepper. Serve immediately.


    Note: Recipe adapted from Secrets of the Southern Table by Virginia Willis. As usual, I tinkered, replacing the poblano pepper with a jalapeño and leaving out the cilantro.

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