Persian-Style Cherry and Almond Rice
Bring 4 cups water and salt to a boil in a medium pot. Meanwhile, place rice in a colander and rinse well with warm water. Add rice to boiling water and boil briskly for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain rice in colander.
In the pot, stir together 1 tablespoon oil, yogurt, 1/4 cup rice from the colander, and 1 tablespoon saffron water. Spread this mixture oven the bottom of the pot. Place 2 large scoops of rice into the pot, then 1/4 cup cherries. Repeat, alternating layers of rice and cherries in the shape of a pyramid; this shape helps the rice cook evenly and form a crispy bottom crust. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
Pour a mixture of the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 1/2 cup water over the pyramid. Pour remaining 1 tablespoon saffron water over pyramid. Place a clean dish towel or 2 paper towels over pot (this will help absorb moisture in the rice, keeping the grains separate); cover firmly with lid and cook 45 minutes longer over low heat.
Remove pot from heat, and allow to cool on a damp surface for 5 minutes. (This will help loosen the golden crust at the bottom.) Gently scoop rice onto a serving platter, sprinkling with almonds and mounding into the shape of a pyramid. Use a spatula to remove crust from the bottom of the pot, and serve this on the side.
Per serving for 6 servings:
* Total Alpha-Tocopherol Equivalents
Courtesy of the Almond Board of California
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