Thursday, December 4, 2008

Saffron Rice and Red Pepper Pilaf

Saffron is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting, delicious, and seldom used flavors out there. It's found in abundance in Spanish or Persian recipes, but often missing in American dishes. Unfortunately, it's also very expensive. But then, when you're dealing with a spice that comes from the 3 stigmas found inside of a saffron crocus flower, it's not really a surprise. Luckily, it's a very strong spice, so a little will go a long way. It's definitely well worth the price.

This dish makes an elegant, yet simple side dish that goes well with chicken and a green salad.

Saffron Rice and Red Pepper Pilaf
from August 2003 Bon Appetit
Pictures by Caroline

5 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups chopped red bell peppers
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups basmati rice or other long-grain white rice
3 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon (generous) crushed saffron threads
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (optional)
Parmesan cheese shavings
  1. Add peppers and onion. Sauté until soft, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add rice; stir 1 minute.
  2. Mix in 3 cups broth, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and saffron. Bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 18 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat; stir in 6 tablespoons grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Stir 1 1/2 tablespoons chives into pilaf. Mound in serving bowl. Top with cheese shavings and remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons chives.

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