Spinach and rice cooked in broth merge into much more than the sum of the parts in this easy, nutritious side dish. Serve alongside roasted meats, or keep it meatless and serve it topped with plain whole milk yogurt as a centerpiece in a vegetarian meal.
The dill is optional, but only because some people don't care for it and it's not always in season. If you like dill and have access to it, by all means, stir it in. It adds a grassy, savory note that is perfection next to earthy spinach.
- Trim the stem end off the onion. Leave the root end in tact to hold the layers of the onion together. Cut the onion in half lengthwise and remove the peel. Working with one-half of the onion at a time, make horizontal cuts into the onion before making vertical and then crosswise cuts to finely chop the onion, using the root end as sort of a handle. Set the onion aside.
- Peel and mince the garlic. Set aside.
- Pick over and trim the spinach. Rinse it clean (see how to clean greens for tips), spin or pat it dry. You really want the spinach dried off to avoid having to cook off the water later. Cut the leaves into thin ribbons.* Set aside.
- In a medium pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic to the onion and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the spinach. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leaves are wilted and any liquid that has cooked out of the spinach has evaporated, about 4 minutes. If there's a lot of liquid, turn up the heat and boil it off.
- Add the rice and stir to coat it and make sure it's as well-combined with the spinach and onions as possible. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the dill, if you like. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook, undisturbed, for 15 minutes. Without removing the cover, remove the pot from the heat and let sit 5 minutes.
- Remove the cover. Fluff the pilaf with a fork. Stir in the pepper, if you like. Serve the pilaf hot or warm.
* Make sure the spinach is thoroughly clean and free of grit. Remove and discard the stems, then put the leaves in a large bowl or sink filled with clean water and swish them around to rinse any grit off of them. Lift the leaves out and into a colander (don't just dump them and the dirty water over them). No need to dry the spinach more than just shaking any excess off in the colander, you can cook off any excess water in the pan.
Repeat, if necessary, to make sure the leaves are grit-free—it's pretty unpleasant to bite into a dish and find dirt lurking there!