Apricot Jeweled Rice
Of all the world travels Francois and I have embarked upon, our trip to Iran was one of the best. The historic culture, scenic beauty, kind people, and, of course, unending delicious food. Rice plays an important role in Persian cuisine — like the phones in our hands, rice is a staple in their culinary fare (although, rice has been grown and eaten for thousands of years!). If you are looking for a jazzy, vegan centerpiece dish for an upcoming holiday meal, then your search stops here!
Jeweled Rice is a delicious pilaf typically topped with gem-like fruits and nuts. In Iran, Jeweled Rice is typically served at weddings or other celebrations. Golden and brightly-colored with vibrant dried accouterments, this week’s recipe is a spectacle of labor and love. Your extra time and effort on this one will delightfully reward you and others!
Par cook the rice – Rinse the rice in a large mesh colander with cold water until the water runs clear. In a large pot, bring 8 cups of water and 2 tbsp of salt to a boil. Add the rice and cook for 5 minutes. Test the doneness by pinching a grain of rice between your fingers. The rice should be “al dente,” soft outside but still hard inside. Drain and rinse the rice in a large mesh colander with cold water to stop the cooking.
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the onion in 3 tbsp of the Miyoko’s butter until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the salt and spices. Cook, stirring well, about one more minute. Turn off the heat and add the fruit, nuts, orange peel, and shredded carrot.
In a large non-stick pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add half of the rice to the bottom of the pot. Top with the fruit, spice and nut mixture. Top with the remaining rice. Using the end of a wooden spoon, push 7 holes through the rice. Drizzle the saffron water through the holes.
Tie a clean kitchen towel over the lid of the pot. Cover the pot. Cook for about 5-7 minutes on medium heat then turn the heat down to very low. and cook for 40-45 minutes until the rice is cooked and the bottom layer of rice is browned. Remove from the heat and let rest 10 minutes. Remove the lid and loosen the rice from the pot by running a knife around the edges.
Holding the pot with oven mitts, top with a serving platter then carefully invert the pot in one quick motion onto the platter. Garnish with fresh pomegranate seeds and chives.
- ¼ tsp saffron threads, crumbled and soaked in ¼ cup of hot water
- 2 cups basmati rice
- ½ tsp Aleppo chili flakes
- ½ tsp Maldon salt
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp ground turmeric
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp Miyoko’s vegan butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- ½ cup shredded carrots
- ½ cup dried apricots, chopped
- ¼ cup dried barberries
- ¼ cup golden raisins
- ¼ cup dry roasted pistachios
- ¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
- ¼ cup slivered candied orange peel
- 1 tbsp freshly grated orange peel
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh pomegranate seeds
- 1 tbsp chives, snipped in small pieces