Fragrant saffron rice
( SERVES 6 )
Fragrant and moist, it is perfect to serve with simple chicken and fish dishes. Saffron gives it a gorgeous colour, but it’s also fine without it. Use a heavy oven dish such as a Le Creuset-type casserole.
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Put the saffron into a tiny ramekin and add the boiling water. Allow the stamens to steep for at least 10 minutes to develop colour and flavour. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy casserole suitable for stove-top use. Add the shallots (finely chopped) and crushed garlic and cook very gently for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the rice and saffron and stir well.
- Add the stock (the level of stock should be at least 3cm above the rice) and salt and pepper. Continue stirring until the rice comes to a boil. Cover the dish with a lid and put into the oven for 25 minutes.
- Check once or twice to ensure the rice is not drying out (add a little water if necessary). When cooked, remove the dish from the oven and leave it to stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.