Greek Rice Pilaf

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups long-grain rice, washed, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes and drained
8 oz. button mushrooms, wiped clean
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
3 3/4 cups hot chicken stock
1 bay leaf
thinly pared rind of 1 lemon,in one piece

2 tablespoons slivered almonds
2 tablespoons raisins
8 large black olives, pitted and chopped


In a saucepan, melt 1/4 cup of the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the onion and garlic and fry for 5 to 7 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes.

Stir in the salt and pepper and pour in the stock. Increase the heat to high and add the bay leaf and lemon rind. When the stock is boiling vigorously, cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed.

Meanwhile, in a small frying-pan, melt the remaining butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the almonds and raisins and fry them, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until the almonds are browned and the raisins puffed up.

Remove the pan from the heat. Remove and discard the bay leaf and the lemon rind.

Spoon the pilaf onto a warmed serving planer and scatter the almonds, raisins and the olives over the top. Serve immediately.