October 4, 2011

Easy Baked Saffron Rice with Pine Nuts & Parsley {Powernap}

Baked Saffron Rice

This is the latest installment of my Powernap column. The series where I share quick, easy food that can be made for all kinds of situations. Powernaps are short and sweet, and so are these recipes. These are the things I make in a jiffy when I need a quick snack, am in the mood for a recipe experiment, or simply need to clean out the pantry.

Today’s Powernap: I have about 30 seconds to pull together a hefty side dish for our Cranberry Goat Cheese Baked Chicken and my daughter has informed me she wants something involving rice or couscous. With the giant tub of jasmine rice in the cabinet and some terrific saffron threads in the spice drawer it is time to pull something together lickety split!

We are a big fan of rice and couscous around these parts. So far I’ve found my daughter will eat nearly any kind of grain I put in front of her, especially when it is piping hot and paired with her favorite chicken. When I was whipping up the delicious chicken last week she asked for rice on the side but I didn’t have a lot of time to stand manning the stove while it cooked. So, in the interest of time and convenience, I decided to experiment with the idea of baking the rice. This technique involves a few seconds of active stirring followed by 30 minutes of complete neglect. Exactly the kind of recipe I needed on a busy day.

To pull the dish together I toasted the rice in a little olive oil, added some lightly toasted pine nuts, poured in the chicken stock and saffron and stuck the whole pot, lid on, in the oven to bake. Prior to serving it I stirred in a large handful of minced parsley (the herb pot is STILL in bloom!) for a little more flavor and color. Then, I scooped it up alongside the chicken and dinner was served! My favorite part about this rice preparation method was that the rice really was as moist and flavorful as if I’d cooked it in the stove. The saffron had infused each grain and the pine nuts added a terrific crunch and nutty flavor. It was a hit all around and it is officially new favorite powernap rice preparation technique!

Recipe

 Baked Saffron Rice with Pine Nuts & Parsley

Ingredients

 2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup white rice (jasmine or texmati are my fave)
2 cups chicken stock, room temperature
1 large pinch saffron threads (about 4 or 5 threads)
1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
¼ cup finely minced parsley

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Warm the olive oil in a heavy bottom oven proof pot and add the rice. Toast the rice for about 2 to 3 minutes or until it turns lightly golden. Carefully pour in the chicken stock – it will sputter – and stir in the pine nuts and saffron.

3. Place the lid on the pot and shove it in the oven to bake for about 30 minutes, or until the rice is steamed through. Keep the lid on the pot until you are ready to serve. Stir in the parsley immediately before serving and scoop onto plates.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

To flavor our rice I added a few threads of saffron, but you could really add anything you want.Dried herbs such as thyme or a basic Italian seasoning would work beautifully. You can also omit the pine nuts if desired.

Naptime Stopwatch

10 minutes prep time, 30 minutes bake time

Naptime Reviews

A delicious and fun way to prepare rice that is virtually foolproof. We loved it!

 

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  • Liz the Chef

    This is a great idea – love the idea of shoving the rice in the oven and the resulting “toasty” flavor.

  • Georgia Pellegrini

    What a beautiful and tasty dish. It would go well with so many things!

  • Georgia Pellegrini

    What a beautiful and tasty dish. It would go well with so many things!

  • http://www.sarahpinneo.com/blog Julia’s Child / Sarah P.

    This sounds awesome. I can’t wait to try it.