Curried Chick Pea And Rice Salad With Sweet Gherkins

 Serves 6

Ingredients

1 jar (10 ounces) sweet gherkins, about 15 pickles

1 tablespoon oil

1-1/2 cups long grain rice or wild rice blend

1 can (15 ounces) chick peas (garbanzo beans)

1 can (14 ounces) chicken broth (or 1-3/4 cups water)

1 tablespoon curry powder

2 to 3 green onions trimmed and minced

Salt to taste

Instructions

Choose 6 gherkins for garnish that are the same size, and fan each one by making several parallel slits leaving the stem end intact. Set aside. Slice the remaining pickles into small even-sized pieces and set aside, reserving the brine.

Heat oil over medium heat in a large pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add curry powder and stir until the perfume of the spice is released. Add the chick peas (reserve the liquid from the can) and the rice and cook a few minutes until the rice becomes slightly translucent. Combine chicken stock and chick pea liquid and enough pickle brine to make 2-1/4 cups. Add liquid to rice and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and simmer gently about 15 minutes (or bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 17 to 20 minutes.)

Cool to room temperature and toss the rice mixture with sliced pickles and onions. Add salt to taste.

Mound the salad in a bowl and decorate with the gherkin "fans."

Tip: Cooked shrimp or chicken cut in chunks can be added to turn this side dish into a main course.