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Mixed Rice Pilaf with Dried Cherries, Apricots and Cinnamon

Mixed Rice Pilaf with Dried Cherries, Apricots and Cinnamon
The trademark of a true pilaf is that the rice (or other grain) is always first sautéed in butter before the broth is added. This special-occasion pilaf, made nontraditionally with brown basmati and wild rices, is punctuated with dried apricots and cherries. You can substitute raisins for the cherries and omit the apricots, if you like.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion, such as Vidalia
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup wild rice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 orange zest strip, 3 inches long and 1/2 inch
      wide, plus extra for garnish (optional)
  • 4 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup dried pitted cherries
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Directions:

In a large, wide saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and sauté, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and stir to blend. Stir in the brown basmati rice, wild rice, cinnamon stick and orange zest. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

Add the stock, apricots and cherries and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil, stirring once. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the stock is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 55 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small, dry fry pan over medium-low heat, toast the almonds, stirring constantly, until golden, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Spoon the pilaf into a warmed serving bowl, discarding the cinnamon stick and orange zest. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and additional orange zest. Serve immediately.
Serves 6 to 8.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Holiday Celebrations, by Marie Simmons (Time-Life Books, 1998).