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Caramelized pineapple and rice unusual side dish

Tart pineapple, dark brown sugar, ginger and nutmeg make this rice dish lively
Tart pineapple, dark brown sugar, ginger and nutmeg make this rice dish livelyPhoto by author

Rice is a veritable blank canvas for cooks. It adds texture and body to any meal, and with its delicate flavor, creates a setting for spicier foods such as a curry or kung pao chicken. Rice concoctions also make great side dishes, and there is no rule that a side dish has to be savory.

Caramelized pineapple and rice is just sweet enough to satisfy anyone's sweet tooth, but the dark brown sugar base doesn't overwhelm. Ginger and nutmeg gently season the pineapple and add a bit of heat; if desired, a sliver of red pepper can also be added. This recipe serves 6, and accompanies any pork or lamb dish very well.

Caramelized Pineapple and Rice
3 c. frozen pineapple chunks, thawed but not drained
1/2 c. dark brown sugar
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 c. warm cooked white or brown rice

In a 12" skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add ground spices and allow to heat for one or two minutes to release the flavors. Stir in brown sugar and continue stirring until dissolved in the butter. Add pineapple chunks and juice, cover lightly and allow mixture to simmer for 10 minutes. Stir mixture, making certain that all pineapple pieces are coated with syrup. Continue simmering for 10 to 15 more minutes or until liquid reduces and syrup thickens slightly.

Place cooked rice into a large serving bowl or casserole dish. Pour pineapple and syrup mixture over rice; fold pineapple evenly into rice.