Bon Appetit’s Baked Minty Rice with Feta and Pomegranate Relish

3 Apr

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This baked rice dish has been on my to-cook list since the December 2015 issue of Bon Appetit magazine hit the shelves.

I finally got around to making it with my friend Jessica last week, and wowee was this good. It’s about this time of year when I really start to crave Mediterranean flavors, just wishing that it could be warm outside already.

While making this recipe I learned a few things:

  • Delicious rice can be cooked in the oven (aka hands-off), and a little butter added to the rice makes it extra tasty (duh).
  • Broiled feta is amazing.
  • Found a new, mostly mess-free way to de-seed a pomegranate.
  • After shopping for ingredients at Sahadi’s in Brooklyn, one must also get a thick slice of chocolate coated marbled halvah to snack on.

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The ‘relish’ that goes on top of the baked rice and broiled feta consists of toasted walnuts, buttery Castelvetrano olives, pomegranate seeds and pomegranate molasses, chopped mint and parsley, garlic, and olive oil. It’s the crunchy sour-sweet-briny topping that turns this dish into a complete meal in my book.

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This would make a great side dish for a dinner party, but we enjoyed it as a main entree, with some nana tea (aka fresh mint tea) on the side.

Bon Appetit’s Baked Minty Rice with Feta and Pomegranate Relish

Recipe from the December 2015 issue of Bon Appetit  (recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi)

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS:

Pomegranate Relish

½ cup walnuts

¾ cup pomegranate seeds (I used the seeds from 1 large pomegranate) 

¾ cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted, coarsely chopped

½ cup olive oil¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh mint

¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses

1 garlic clove, crushed into a paste

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Rice and Assembly

2 cups basmati rice

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

10 mint sprigs

8 ounces feta, sliced ¼-inch thick

DIRECTIONS:

Pomegranate Relish

Preheat to 350°. Toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet (or in a dry skillet over medium high heat), tossing once, until golden brown, 5–8 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop. Increase oven temperature to 450°.

Toss walnuts, pomegranate seeds, olives, oil, mint, parsley, pomegranate molasses, and garlic in a medium bowl to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Rice and Assembly

Combine rice, butter, and salt in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish, then pour in a scant 3½ cups water; top with the 10 mint sprigs. Cover tightly with foil and bake until rice is tender and water is absorbed, 30–35 minutes. Remove from oven; pluck out mint. Fluff rice with a fork.

Heat broiler. Arrange feta slabs over rice. Broil until rice around edges of pan is browned and crisp and feta is starting to brown, 8-10 minutes. Spoon pomegranate relish over.

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