During the chagim I prepared quite a few dishes I had not made before, as well as some favorites. It was hard to choose which ones to feature here but these two were simple, delicious and the family absolutely loved them.
Spiced Bismatu Pilau
(From: The Big Book of One Pot – published by Parragon Books 2008)
- 2 1/2 cups basmati rice
- 6 oz broccoli trimmed
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 5 cardamon pods, split
- 6 whole cloves
- 8 black peppercorns
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 5 cups boiling vegetable stock or water
- 1/2 cup seedless raisins
- 1/2 cup unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
- salt and pepper
- Place the rice in the strainer and wash well under cold running water. Drain. Trim off the broccoli stalk, then quarter the stalk lengthwise and cut diagonally into 1/2″ pieces. Cut the remaining broccoli into small florets.
- Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and broccoli stalks, cook over low heat stirring frequently for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, rice, garlic, and spices for 1 minute while stirring until rice is coated in oil.
- Add the boiling stock and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the broccoli florets and return the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and cook over low heat for 15 without uncovering the pan.
- Remove the pan from from the heat and let the pilau stand for 5 minutes without uncovering. Remove the whole spices, add the raisins and pistachios. Gently fork through to fluff up the grains. Serve the pilau hot.
We like rice dishes and this one certainly did not disappoint!
For dessert, I turned to Jeff Nathan’s Family Suppers, (Published by Clarkson Potter, 2005) I’ve made it before and everyone asked for it again:
Poached Apricots with Lemon and Thyme
Makes 6 to 8 servings
- 2 lemons
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 3-inch cinnamon stick
- 1 pound dried apricots
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- a few gratings of fresh nutmeg
- vanilla ice cream for serving
- Grate the lemon zest from 1 lemon. Juice this lemon and strain the juice. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the second lemon and cut the zest lengthwise into thin strips (julienne) Reserve the second lemon for another use.
- Mix 2 cups water, the orange juice, honey, sugar, grated lemon zest, lemon juice, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Add the apricots and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Partially cover the saucepan with the lid, and simmer until the apricots are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add the thyme and nutmeg. Cool until warm (or cool, cover, and refrigerate until chilled). Serve spooned over ice cream and topped with julienned lemon zest.
Variation: Poached Apricots with Amaretto
In step 3, add 1/4 cup almond flavored liqueur, such as Amaretto di Saronno, to the poaching liquid with the thyme.
As Jeff Nathan says you can serve the apricots without the ice cream as a compote. With everyone having seconds this dessert was gone in no time!