Thanksgiving was a snowy and icy day. Remembering how we were stuck on a bus for four hours last Christmas Day, we decided to cancel going to visit Sadananda's sister for a family gathering, much as we were looking forward to it. As a result, I had to improvise a Thanksgiving meal for two--using what we happened to have. We had a basket of chard we harvested before the freeze, leading me to make this delicious recipe--vegatarian and gluten free. Serve with Persian Winter Squash Soup. Ideally, serve tourshi along with Persian food.
For a low carb version, simply use mashed cauliflower insread of rice. And you can easily make it vegan by omitting the feta cheese.
Persian Rice with Chard Dish
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 2 cups water
- 1 pinch saffron
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 Serrano pepper, de-seeded and chopped finely
- 4 Tbsp. dried cranberries or raisins
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- 1 bunch Swiss chard
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons toasted pistachio kernels
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- ½ cup mint leaves or dill, washed and chopped
- 4 oz. feta cheese, cubed
In Iran dried barberries would be used instead of cranberries.
- Soak the saffron in a couple of tablespoons boiling water
- Wash the rice and cook in 2 cups water, adding the saffron and saffron water as well.
- Wash and slice the chard.
- Toast the pistachio kernels and chop them.
- Pour the olive oil into a large skillet and put it over medium heat. Crush the garlic straight into the skillet. Add Serrano pepper, cumin and raisins or berries and sauté for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Don't let the garlic and berries scorch - lower the heat if necessary.
- Add the chard into the skillet and continue to cook for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pistachios, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and toss. Remove from the heat.
- Add the rice into the skillet and toss.
- Now gently stir in the feta cheese and sprinkle dill and/or mint on top.