Ouzo Saffron Rice Pilaf with Peas, Pistachios & Almonds
My favorite rice is, of course, Greek! It's more flavorful than other rices from around the world because it grows near the river deltas in N. Greece, seasoned by the salty spray of the sea nearby. We cook rice for dinner in Greece, as a main course, not only as a side dish. This recipe calls for Greek saffron and olive oil, too. To find some of the artisinal Greek products you'll need to make this, visit my online shop here, where you'll discover a host of lovingly curated Greek ingredients.
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin Greek olive oil
- 2 shallots finely chopped
- 1 red onion finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 star anise
- 2 cups Greek Carolina or Greek long grain rice
- 1 cup fresh or frozen and defrosted shelled peas
- 1/2 cup ouzo
- 3 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water or a combination of both
- 1/2 teaspoon Greek saffron Krokos Kozanis
- Salt pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup unsalted pistachios
- 1/2 cup blanched whole almonds
- 1 tablespoon Greek honey
Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a large, heavy, deep skillet over medium heat and cook the shallots, onion and garlic until wilted and lightly browned, about 10 – 12 minutes. About five minutes into cooking the above, add the star anise.
Add the rice and stir to coat in the olive oil. Pour in the ouzo and steam off the alcohol. Add the stock or water and reduce heat to low. Season with salt and pepper. Dilute the saffron in 2 tablespoons hot water and stir into the rice. Cover and simmer the rice for about 12 – 15 minutes, or until tender. Halfway through cooking the rice, gently stir in the peas.
While the rice is cooking, heat the remaining olive oil and lightly brown the nuts. Stir in the honey and a pinch of salt. Cook until the honey starts to thicken. Remove and set aside.
Serve the pilaf hot or warm in individual cups or mounds with the nuts on top.