I was introduced to Yotam Ottolenghi‘s cookbooks a few months ago and finally have one of my own — Jerusalem. The recipes and pictures are mouth-watering just when reading them. I made Christmas Eve dinner for some friends and had to break the cookbook out. One of the recipes I tried was Saffron rice with barberries, pistachio and mixed herbs.
2 1/2 /40 g tbsp unsalted butter (I just used some olive oil)
2 cups/360g basmati rice, rinsed under cold water and drained
2 1/2 cups/560ml boiling water
1 tsp saffron threads, soaked for 30 minutes in 3 tbsp boiling water
1/4 cup/40g dried barberries, soaked for a few minutes in freshly boiled water with a pinch of sugar (I couldn’t find them after checking out several specialty stores, went with dried cranberries)
1 oz/30g dill, roughly chopped
2/3 oz/20g chervil, roughly chopped (nixed it because there was none at the store and it was such a small amount)
1/3 oz/10g tarragon, roughly chopped (used dry)
1/2 cup/60g slivered or crushed unsalted pistachios, lightly toasted
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and stir in the rice, making sure the grains are well coated. Add the boiling water, a teaspoon of salt and some white pepper. Mix well, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook on a very low heat for 15 minutes. Don’t be tempted to uncover the pan – you need to let the rice to steam properly. –I had to go a bit longer than 15.
Remove the pan from the heat – all the water will have been absorbed by the rice – and pour the saffron water over about a quarter of the surface, leaving most of the rice white. Cover with a tea towel, reseal tightly with the lid and set aside for five to 10 minutes.
With a large spoon, transfer the white rice to a large bowl and fluff it up with a fork. Drain the barberries (again, just used cranberries) and stir them in, followed by the herbs and most of the pistachios, reserving a few to garnish. Fluff up the saffron rice in the pan, then fold gently into the white rice – don’t overmix: you don’t want the white grains to be stained by the yellow ones. Taste, adjust the seasoning and transfer to a shallow serving bowl. Scatter the remaining pistachios on top and serve warm or at room temperature.
This was so good. The nice taste from the saffron and all other flavors jumping together. And the red and green colors coming together on Christmas Eve. So glad I tried this!