1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ tablespoon olive oil
2 cups brown rice
1 pinch saffron, steeped for 5 minutes in 1/4 cup of hot (do not use boiling) water
2 cups chicken stock
1 small clove garlic, peeled and finely minced or pressed
1 ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup petite peas
1/4 cup unsweetened dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1/4 cup chopped pistachios, walnuts, pecans, slivered almonds, or whole pine nuts
Melt the butter in a frying pan with tall sides over medium heat.
Add the onion. Sprinkle with salt.
Saute the onion until it is transluscent. Reserve onion in a bowl. Add red pepper, lemon zest, cranberries and peas to the bowl of onions and mix.
Add olive oil to frying pan. When hot, add the rice to the frying pan. Saute the rice, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
Heat stock to boiling in a 2-quart saucepan.
Add the saffron, saffron water, garlic, and rice to the stock in the saucepan.
Cover and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
Quickely pour the bowl of vegetables, zest and cranberries on top of the rice. Place a clean, white cotton kitchen towel over the top of the saucepan. Cover tightly and let steam for 20 minutes.
Chef’s Note: The towel is used to absorb the steam, thereby helping to prevent the rice from sticking together.
Remove cover and fluff with a fork. Test rice and peas for doneness.
Place in a serving dish.
Garnish with selected nut.