Friday, September 5, 2014

Moroccan Rice Pilaf, A Savory Side Dish

We made this rice dish to serve at our wedding, which was 21 years ago. I have continued to make it every year for our anniversary dinner, unless we go out. It has always been a big hit. It has a lot of complimentary flavours. Like cinnamon, toasted almonds, currants, carrots, broth and orange peel. On top of that it is super easy to prepare. It only takes a little time to prep the ingredients, the remaining time is spent in the oven baking.

This recipe comes from one of my few remaining cookbooks. I find that with the advent of Pinterest I no longer use any of my cookbooks except for this one. It is the New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins. It was published in 1989 and although it has been in print for many years I find the recipes were ahead of their time and they are still relevant today. The only things that are really missing are recipes using quinoa, kale and a few other current fads. Bon appetit

2 tbsp olive oil
½ cup blanched whole almonds
1 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and cut into ¼ inch dice.
½ tsp ground cinnamon (I use Moroccan spice mix)
1 cup long-grain white rice
3 cups chicken stock
⅓ cup of currants
Minced zest of one orange ( I use lemon due to allergies)
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 ½ tbsp snipped fresh chives (I use green onion finely chopped)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a shallow 1 ½ quart oven proof casserole. Heat the oil in a large skillet and saute the almonds over medium heat until they are browned and fragrant, being careful not to overcook them, 3 minutes. Stir in the prepared onion, carrot and cinnamon (Moroccan spice). Cook 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring until translucent, 1 minute. Stir in the stock, currants, orange zest (lemon) and the cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil; remove from the heat. Transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole and bake, uncovered, until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Sprinkle with the chives, and serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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