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This beautiful rice dish , studded with apricots and crsip apples is inspired by an ancient Persian dish that was made for the royal court. My occupational therapist brought me some when she made it for one of the holidays and I loved it! True, I don't think I would like a steady diet of it but it has different & interesting flavors and it grows on you. We have made it twice already and have already made some small changes, have also made it with vegetable broth so that it can be used for a vegetarian diet.
- 1⁄4 teaspoon saffron thread
- 1⁄4 cup warm water
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter (we used 5 T)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 1⁄2 cups basmati rice
- 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth or 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2⁄3 cup salted roasted almonds, coarsely chopped
- 6 dried apricots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 large granny smith apple, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
- fresh ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- In a small bowl, crumble the saffron over the warm water and let stand for 5 minutes.
- In a large skillet, apray with cooking spray & melt 3 tablespoons of the butter.
- Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened, 7 minutes.
- Stir in the cinnamon, then add the rice and stir to coat.
- Add the stock, saffron and its soaking liquid and the salt and bring to a boil.
- Transfer the rice and liquid to a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish.
- Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes, or until the stock is absorbed and the rice is tender.
- In a large skillet, spray with cooking spray & melt the 2 tablespoons of butter.
- Add the scallions and cook over moderately high heat for 30 seconds.
- Add the almonds and apricots and cook until the apricots start to brown, about 2 minutes.
- Add the apple and cook, stirring, just until warmed, about 1 minute.
- Stir the mixture into the rice, season with pepper and serve hot.