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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Baba Rice (a weeknight lifesaver)

This is my dear friend Lisa. Our husbands have known each other since Kindergarten (!!) and when we lived in Toledo, Lisa was a constant in my life. I remember calling Lisa and Todd just a couple of days after they brought their oldest son home from the hospital to tell them that we, too were going to have a baby! Now Ty is almost 11, and Dylan is 10, and I feel like an elderly woman, but that's a story for another day.

Lisa is the friend who introduced me to Bunco (which I greatly miss - why don't people play Bunco in Chicago??), and the person who brought over food after Dylie and Max were born. And the one dish that was ALWAYS included with this delivery was Baba Rice. Baba was Todd's grandma, and she was from Bulgaria. I love Baba Rice, but I could never make it properly no matter how many times Lisa walked me through it over the phone.

This has always been a source of frustration for me, so when we visited Todd and Lisa Thanksgiving weekend, I watched her make it and took very detailed notes. I am happy to report that I have now made Baba Rice twice and was successful both times. Woot!

And now I am sharing with you. Enjoy.

Baba Rice
2-1/2 cups Uncle Ben's rice (the brand is important here, so don't try to get all fancy. You need the original Uncle Ben's converted rice)
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 small onions, chopped
5 cups chicken broth
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tb. dill
1 Tb Spike seasoning or summer savory (Chubritza is the Bulgarian word for this)
1 tsp chicken bouillion paste (I use that Better than Bouillion stuff from the supermarket)
1/4 cup canola oil 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put the rice in a 9x13 Pyrex dish. Add the celery, onion, broth and spices. Break the bouillion paste up into smaller pieces and distribute throughout the dish. Pour in the oil and mix everything well. Cover the pan with foil and place into the oven for an hour. Remove from the oven and mix up a bit with a fork. Enjoy!

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