Sweet Spiced Mushroom and Apricot Pilaf Recipe (2024)

By Yotam Ottolenghi

Sweet Spiced Mushroom and Apricot Pilaf Recipe (1)

Total Time
2 hours
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This pilaf scores all the points for being both gluten-free and vegan (provided you use vegetable stock), and for being robust enough for no one to notice. Star anise and cinnamon make this a warming (and winning) combination for a festive Thanksgiving spread, complementing roast turkey and just about any dish that finds its way to your table. It also serves well as a stand-alone main, with some lightly cooked greens to go alongside. Feel free to swap out the fresh mushrooms for whatever foraged finds you can get your hands on, just make sure to break them up into large chunks, keeping intact their natural “meatiness.”

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Yield:4 main or 6 side servings

  • 1 to 2ancho chiles, stems discarded
  • 1ounce/30 grams dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2cups/480 milliliters chicken or vegetable stock
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1pound/450 grams oyster mushrooms, roughly torn into separate stems
  • 5large portobello mushrooms, stems discarded, each cap roughly broken up into 6 chunks
  • 1large yellow onion, peeled, halved and cut into ¼-inch/½-centimeter-thick slices
  • 5ounces/140 grams dried apricots (the plump orange kind), quartered
  • 10garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3cinnamon sticks
  • 4whole star anise
  • ½cup plus 2 tablespoons/150 milliliters olive oil
  • cups/340 grams basmati rice, washed until water runs clear, then drained well
  • 3scallions, trimmed, then thinly sliced at an angle
  • ¼cup/5 grams loosely packed parsley leaves, picked with some of the stem attached

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)

1136 calories; 66 grams fat; 9 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 46 grams monounsaturated fat; 8 grams polyunsaturated fat; 126 grams carbohydrates; 13 grams dietary fiber; 28 grams sugars; 20 grams protein; 1495 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Sweet Spiced Mushroom and Apricot Pilaf Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Bring a small pot of water to a boil and heat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit/230 degrees Celsius.

  2. Step


    Add the ancho chile to a heatproof bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover. Let sit to rehydrate, about 20 minutes, then discard the soaking liquid and roughly chop the chile, seeds and all.

  3. Step


    Transfer the dried porcini mushrooms to a medium saucepan and add the stock, 1½ cups/360 milliliters water, 1¼ teaspoons salt and a good grind of pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then set aside.

  4. Step


    Add the oyster and portobello mushrooms, onion, apricots, garlic, cinnamon, star anise, chopped ancho chile, ½ cup/120 milliliters oil, 1 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper to a roasting pan (tin) that is about 10-by-13 inches/26-by-34 centimeters. Give everything a good stir, then bake until the vegetables are soft and well browned, 40 to 45 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from the oven, transfer half the mixture to a medium bowl, then arrange the remaining mushrooms in an even layer in the pan. Sprinkle the rice evenly on top of the mushrooms in the pan, without stirring, and set aside.

  5. Step


    Bring the porcini mixture back up to a simmer over medium-high heat. Pour the porcini mixture over the rice, again without stirring, and cover the roasting pan tightly with foil. Return to the oven and bake until the rice is cooked through and has started to brown on the bottom of the pan, and the apricots begin to caramelize, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and gently stir everything together.

  6. Step


    Add the scallions, parsley and the remaining 2 tablespoons/30 milliliters oil to the bowl with the reserved mushroom mixture; stir to combine. Spoon this over the rice mixture and serve.



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Cooking Notes


Could this dish be made ahead and warmed up for Thanksgiving Day?

Frederick Tibbetts

Variations. Instead of, or with, the dried apricots, use sun-dried tomatoes (plump, or reconstituted). For the star anise, substitute 2 tsp. fennel seeds. For a quarter-cup of the stock, use white wine.

Debra Villalobos

If you roast the ancho chile in a dry hot pan before hot water you’ll get an even better flavor


It may not be traditional, but it is not wasteful. Stock can be made from the chicken bones, thus using a part of the animal that would otherwise be wasted. I love to save my cooking scrapes in the freezer (vegetable peels, vegetable ends, onion skins, etc) and a chicken carcass (after making a roast chicken) and use them to make a quick chicken stock in my pressure cooker. Tada, free chicken stock!!! My husband calls it "garbage broth." I feel good about reducing my waste and using every bit!


Step 6- add herbs and oil to reserved mushrooms and stir into rice.

ithaca boxer

this takes far longer than 25 minutes ......45 minutes with ten minutes standing gets the perfect soccarat. Can also be made ahead and crisped in oven before serving.


No way in Step 4 that all of that will fit in a pan that size. (10x13). had to use my half sheet pan. and please remove the cinnamon sticks and star anise before serving.


I used ancho Chile powder. Added to oil before pouring over vegetable mix. Worked fine. A delicious side dish. The leftovers reheated just fine.


Made this for Thanksgiving. It was fabulous and tasted even better the next day as leftovers. I used fresh poblanos rather than dried anchos (same pepper) and I thought their flavor came through a bit more on the second day.


Go easy on the salt. The flavor was great, but a little too salty.


Does this recipe work well for a make-ahead item?


This was not a great success for me. I found it complicated with so many steps and the biggest problem was that the apricots were overcooked and some were burnt after roasting them at 450 and I pulled the roasting pan out after 30 minutes.If I tried it again I would put the apricots in when I put in the rice.


This came out great, even with a few changes. We got 12 servings out of it. Maybe portobello mushrooms are smaller where Ottolenghi lives? We simplified using only fresh produce:1. Oven 450, boil water2. Chop poblano, mushrooms, garlic, onion, apricots3. Bake with spices 45 min4. Take out half the veggies, flatten the remainder5. Layer the rice on the veggies in the pan, add stock, cover and bake 30 min6. Add the removed veggies, scallions, parsley and stir.Ate it for four days!


Why do the mushrooms get divided in two and cooked for different lengths of time? I understand trying to make a kind of lasagna with shroom-rice-shroom layers, but why not just layer the other half of the mushrooms on right after the rice and then both layers of mushrooms get cooked the same amount.


This recipe did not work for me. Although it had a good mushroom taste, it came out salty, and the rice did not cook well in the manner described. The recipe is a little poorly written with its many separate movements collected into the slightly arbitrary listed steps. Won't be making again.

J Nem

I love the play of sweet, savory, and earthy. I used farro instead of rice for a heartier and more complex dish, butI did have to finish it on the stovetop because farro doesn't work like rice, I found out. Regardless, it was a hit at Thanksgiving and the leftovers were just as good.


Can this be done with wild rice in a rice cooker? If so, how?


Super easy and delicious! had to cook the rice a bit longer but it was perfectly and evenly cooked. Would absolutely make again and maybe use more oyster mushrooms instead of portobello. had with a side of roasted butternut squash with spiced gravy, and a lemony garlicky kale salad.


Didn’t have star anise so substituted a bit of fennel seed! Amazing warm, spiced flavors!


Made it for thanksgiving. It was just ok and leftovers were horrible. I wouldn’t make it again


Made this for a second time, ditched the star anise added ground cardamom. I still wasn’t happy with the combo. This mine ing sautéed onions, tossed in the pilaf, added a tiny amount of red boat, added chili garlic sauce. Shazam, delicious. Listening to David Chang might have affected my choices. Stil, yum.


I made this. Loved it as did my guests. I was not that crazy about the star anise flavor. Substitutes?


I used 4 black cardamom pods (sold at Indian groceries) instead of star anise and substituted toasted buckwheat for the rice. In the finished dish, when served and you find a cardamom pod, you can set it aside, but I split the soft pod (easter egg!) and scoop out the seeds to add to my serving and set the hull aside. I love the earthy flavor the seeds add. The dish was delicious. Flavor was so much better the next day that I would make this a day ahead and reheat next time.


I used regular broth in place of the porcini broth and still thought it was very tasty! I also substituted brown rice.


What would you add to this to boost the protein, so it's a more balanced main dish?


The rice and mushrooms have more protein than you'd expect. However, to boost the protein more, I think smoked tofu would be good, as would Field Roast's apple sage sausages, or a can of beans (maybe pinto).

kris g

Make sure you don’t chop the onions, mushrooms, and apricots too small. They’ll just burn to a crisp! Lyonnaise the onions for sure. You could cut the time of this recipe in half by sautéing instead of baking the vegetables. Put the rice in the Dutch oven for 20 min while you sauté. Or just on the stove as well. That’ll clear your oven for other fun things.


Delicious. I would reduce the quantity of mushrooms by anywhere from 25-50%. My personal preference would have been a higher rice to mushroom ratio. Also, I didn't have enough Oyster mushrooms and so I substituted with Shiitake. I was still happy with the dish.


We make this for Christmas dinner. It was fantastic! So bold and flavorful.

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Sweet Spiced Mushroom and Apricot Pilaf Recipe (2024)
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