MOROCCAN ORANGE PILAF (for four)
2 cups long-grain, basmati white rice
4 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup blanched, whole almonds
2 small onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and cut into ¼ inch dice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups canned, low-salt chicken broth
2/3 cups dried currants
minced zest of 2 oranges
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
- Measure rice into a fine-mesh sieve and place sieve into a bowl of cold water to soak for 30 minutes. Remove sieve from water and drain rice for 20 minutes. (Soaking and drying the rice thoroughly are important to remove the starch from the kernels before cooking. Otherwise, your rice may be gummy.)
- Heat oil in a 3-quart, heavy saucepan with a close-fitting lid. Saute almonds over medium heat until they are browned and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in the onion, carrot and cinnamon and cook 3 minutes. Add the rice and sauté, stirring, 2 minutes.
- Stir in the stock, currants, orange zest and cayenne pepper and bring to a boil. (Do not stir again until rice is finished). Continue to boil 8 minutes, until the surface of the rice is dry and covered with steam holes.
- Reduce heat to lowest possible setting, cover pot tightly (use both a tea towel and lid) and cook 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let rice stand, still covered, 5 minutes more. Remove cover and fluff rice with a fork. Sprinkle with chives before serving.