JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Christmassy pilaf

We ate this with roast chicken the other night, and it was essence of Christmas - easy celebratory food with a hint of the exotic which is just right on a winter's night. And I got there by accident: normally, for this sort of dish I would use individual spices, probably cinnamon and clove, but I wanted to finish up what was left over from baking Christmas cakes last week, and the result was a much greater depth of flavour. The ingredients list says: cinnamon, coriander seed, caraway, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. No wonder.

Perfect to go with cold turkey on Boxing Day - five minute's effort, then 20 minutes to do something else before it's time to eat.

Chop and fry a large onion until golden in a little olive oil. Use a saucepan with lid. Add 100g pistachio nuts, & 100g of dried berries. I used a bought mixture of cranberries, blueberries and wild cherry, but any of those would do, or raisins if that's what was in the cupboard. Then add a couple of teaspoons of mixed spice. Stir all this round for a moment, add 500g basmati rice, and then add 750ml stock, bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes without lifting the lid.

When it's done, the rice will be at the bottom, everything else at the top. Mix it together and, if you are decanting it into a serving dish, scrape up the crunchy bits at the bottom and mix those in too.

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