This recipe is from From The Oven To The Table, Simple Dishes That Look After Themselves, by Diana Henry. In this her twelfth cookbook, Diana shows us a remarkable range of ways to combine flavorful ingredients in a roasting pan with the heat of an oven to make tempting and satisfying meals. I asked to share this versatile recipe because it combines a classic method for baked rice with an inspired mix of sweet citrus, warm spices, and briny feta and green olives. The result is nothing short of delicious.
Diana wrote in her introduction to the recipe:
“A blueprint for baked rice. Just stick to the same quantities of rice and liquid, the same size of pan, and the same oven temperature and you can produce endless variations. Change the herbs, use spices, or add nuts and dried fruit.”
- 1 3/4 cups basmati rice
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
- 2 large onions, roughly chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
- 3 1/2 cups boiling chicken or vegetable stock
- sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup good-quality green olives, preferably pitted, roughly chopped or left whole
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped dill
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Put the rice in a sieve and run cold water through it until the water runs clear to remove the excess starch, then leave it in the sieve to drain.
- In a 12-in ovenproof sauté pan or shallow casserole, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions over medium-low heat until they’re soft and pale gold. Add the garlic and cumin and cook for another 2 minutes, then add the rinsed and drained rice, the orange juice, and the boiling stock. Season.
- Bring to a boil on the stovetop, then transfer immediately to the oven. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour.
- When there are 10 minutes to go, break up the crust that has formed on the top and stir in the olives. By the end of cooking time, the rice should be tender and all the stock absorbed.
- Scatter the orange zest, feta, and dill over the top, drizzle with olive oil, and serve. You will find that the rice has formed a delicious crust on the bottom of the pan.
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