Persian Jeweled Rice
Persian Jeweled Rice

Taken from Little Ferraro Kitchen

This Persian rice will be great as a side dish or as a main dish if you are looking for something light and delicious for lunch.  It will be great addition to your Shabbat dinner and something special for the holidays if you like adding a surprise dish and spicing up your kitchen!

Ingredients:

o    2 cups basmati rice
o    1 onion, sliced thin (I used red, but white will do)
o    1 cup dried apricots, chopped
o    1 cup sliced almonds
o    1 cup pistachio, roughly chopped
o    1 carrot, peeled, and cut into small match sticks.
o    1/2 cup golden raisins
o    1/2 cup red raisins
o    Large pinch of saffron soaked in 1/4 cup hot water
o    1/2 tsp turmeric
o    1/2 tsp cardamom
o    3 Tb butter
o    2 Tb olive oil
o    2 Tb yogurt
o    Kosher salt, if needed

Servings: 6-8
Cooking time: 90 min.
 
Instructions:

1.  First, in a small bowl soak a generous pinch of saffron in warm water. Allow to soak while setting up other ingredients.
2.  Place rice in a bowl and wash rice, rinsing several times until clear there is clear water. Fill up with water again and add a generous pinch of salt. Allow to soak for 20 minutes.
3.  When ready, boil rice for 7-8 min. Rice should be "al dente" and be soft on the outside and hard inside. Drain rice and set aside.
4.  Next, using a vegetable peeler, peel orange skin into long strips. Use a small paring knife to cut off the inside white pith (this is bitter). Then cut the orange strips into thinner strips. Soak these in water and rinse 3 times, which helps cut the bitterness.
5. To make the candied orange peel and carrots, in another small pot, bring 1/2 c sugar and 1/2 c water to a boil. Add orange strips and carrot strips and boil for 15 minutes on low. When done, set aside.
6.  In a separate pan, saute sliced onion in 1 Tb butter and oil until caramelized. About 10 minutes. Add turmeric and mix together well.
7. To the onion mixture, add raisins, dried apricots, cumin and cardamom. Mix everything together and cook for another 2 minutes to cook off the spices.
8. Add candied carrot and orange mixture to the fruit and onions and toss well.
9.  Next, add the pistachios and almonds and toss to coat. Drizzle 1 Tb saffron water (that has been soaking). Toss everything together and set aside.
10. Melt 2Tb butter and a good drizzle of olive oil in a large pot. Then, in a small bowl, mix 1/4 c of reserved rice with 2 Tb of yogurt and 1 Tb saffron water. Place the rice mixture on the bottom of the large pot. This will help form a "tah-dig" to get a crispy bottom.
11. Next, it's time to layer. Add 1/3 of rice mixture, then 1/3 of fruit and nut mixture and continue until everything is used. Be sure to make a "pyramid" shape as you layer the rice.
12. Use the back of a large wooden spoon to make holes in the rice. This will allow the steam to escape and ensure in a crispy bottom. Then, drizzle the rest of the saffron water on top + 1/2 cup water.
13. Before closing the pot with a lid, wrap the lid in a towel and then close. The towel will help catch the moisture so the bottom will be crispy. Cook with lid on for 30 minutes on low flame.
14. When ready, spoon rice and fruit mixture on a platter and serve.
 
Bon Apetit!