Heat the oil in a pot set over medium-high. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Mix in the rice and cook for 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, except garnish, and bring to a boil. Cover the rice, turn the heat to its lowest setting, and cook 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Fluff the rice with a fork and transfer to a serving bowl. If desired, garnish the rice with sliced lemon and thyme sprigs.
Recipe Options: Instead of thyme, use fresh tarragon, to taste, in this recipe. In place of lemon zest and juice, use orange zest and juice, or use a mix of citrus zest and juice in this recipe. For more aromatic rice, make the pilaf with long grain basmati or jasmine rice.