Friday, September 18, 2009

Basmati Rice Pilaf with Caramelized Onions, Cherries and Pine Nuts

4 Tablespoons of butter
3 medium onions: 2 sliced (about 3 cups
1 teaspoon of Lebanese Kibbee Spice (see recipe below)

1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt; more as needed
Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup pine nuts

1 orange, zest finely grated (about 2-1/2 tsp.) and juiced (about 6 Tbs.)
Splash of Armagnac (or cognac or brandy)
3/4 cup sweetened dried tart cherries

1-1/2 cups hot basmati rice, cooked to directions on package

1.  Start rice cooking then prepare rest of elements while rice is cooking.  I use a rice cooker – very handy for this part!

2.  Pour the orange juice and the splash of Armagnac over the cherries in a small microwave safe bowl or mug to hydrate them, the liquid should almost cover them completely.

3.  In a 12-inch heavy-based skillet (I use an electric skillet on med-high), melt 4 TBS. of the butter over medium heat.

4.  Add the sliced onions; reduce the heat to medium low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and nicely caramelized, 20 to 25 min.

5.  Add in the pine nuts and cook with onions until lightly browned, be careful not to burn.

6.  Once onions are caramelized, place into a bowl and sprinkle with kibbe spice and mix well.

8.    Add grated orange peel to onion mixture and mix well.

9.  Place cherries with liquid into microwave and microwave on HIGH 1 minute.

10.  Strain the cherries, discard the orange juice/Armagnac liquid and stir into onion mixture.

11. Once rice is done, fluff the rice by slipping the tines of a fork down into the rice alongside the edge of the pan. Gently lift and toss the rice toward the center of the pan. Continue this process as you work your way around the perimeter.

12.  . Using the fork, gently fold in the cherries, caramelized onions, pistachios, and orange zest. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.

Kibbe Spice Mixture

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