Welcome to another edition of #ProgressiveEats, our virtual version of a progressive dinner party where each course is held at a different home. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out. This month’s theme is a Kebab Fest hosted by Anshie Dhar of Spiceroots.
Anshie is a native of India now living in Colorado, bringing the love spices to everyone she meets. This is such a perfect theme for her! Her blog is an international bazaar of wonderful recipes and stories. As always, this group of talented bloggers has come up with a remarkable selection of recipes to suit everyone’s tastes. I know you will find the recipes are incredibly creative and fascinating. I love how inspired everyone is and always marvel at the dishes they come up with.
When Anshie chose the theme, my first instinct was to make a kebab that would mimic the ones I used to get at a wonderful Afghani restaurant in Sunnyvale. And then I realized that finding a new and different way to prepare a rice dish, a staple in our home now that we are gluten-free, would be very appreciated by both The Artist and me. OK, rice it is!
The rice at the Afghani restaurant was usually quite understated, more of a pillow for the massive kebabs they served than a stand alone dish. But with the drippings from the hot meats as they slid off the two-foot-long metal skewers, it was the perfect accompaniment.
With the long holiday weekend, I knew there would be a lot of grilling going on, so I wanted a side dish that would complement the smoky flavors coming off the BBQ. I have always loved fruits with grilled foods – tossing some dried cranberries I had on hand into the rice, along with the crunchy sweetness of an apple sounded good. I have some salty almonds too, those are always a nice addition to dishes. Alright, now we have the base for a new recipe!
Whenever I make rice I always use stock to boil it instead of plain water. It adds tremendous flavor as well as nutrients and protein if it is meat/poultry-based. It makes rice a healthier option and mighty delicious. If you want a vegetarian or vegan recipe, make sure you use vegetable stock and olive oil instead of butter.
So as I tossed together this beautiful bowl of rice with the cranberries shining like rubies, I knew that I had another dish my family will love. I hope you enjoy it too. Make sure you check out the links for the Progressive Dinner courses below the recipe. This is one hugely creative group that never fails to thrill and amaze!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
If you are planning a large party, make the rice a day or two ahead. When it is fully cooked, transfer it to a very large bowl to give you plenty of room to toss it as it cools. Keep it moving so the grains won’t stick together. You will wind up with a lovely, light and fluffy batch of rice. Keep refrigerated until the day of your event, prep the fruits and nuts, reheat the rice while covered to keep the moisture in, sprinkle the additions over the top and toss to combine. Serve while hot.
This dish seems to be naturally gluten-free, but you need to watch out for the stock, dried fruit, and nuts. There can be gluten used in the processing. Gluten can also hide in spice blends. Make sure you check the labels carefully.
- 1 stick (8 tbsp) butter, cubed
- 1 onion, trimmed, peeled, and very finely chopped
- 2-1/2 cups basmati rice
- 4-1/4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (gluten-free if needed)
- 3 teaspoons kosher or fine sea salt
- 1 tbsp tagine spice blend (a combination of paprika, black pepper, ginger, and turmeric from Whole Spice )
- 2 large apples, cored and cut into small bite-sized pieces
- 2 cups dried sweetened cranberries
- 2 cups salted roasted almonds, coarsely chopped
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 green onions, trimmed and the green portion thinly sliced, for garnishing
- Chopped pistachios, for garnishing
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a Dutch oven or 12-inch diameter skillet with 2-inch straight sides, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in the rice and stir to coat all the grains with the butter. Transfer to a 9x13-inch baking pan.
- In a 3-quart saucepan, stir together the stock and salt and bring to a boil. Pour over the rice in the pan, evenly distributing the rice. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes, or until the stock is absorbed and the rice is tender.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes without disturbing. Uncover the baking pan. Rake with two forks to fluff the rice, separating the grains. Sprinkle with the tagine seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Toss with the forks to distribute the seasonings. If you have children or people who are not adventurous eaters, you can add the tagine to just a portion of the rice or leave it out entirely.
- Sprinkle the apples, cranberries, and almonds over the top of the baked rice. Use the forks to gently but thoroughly toss and fluff the rice, mixing in the additions. Taste and adjust seasonings. Scoop a serving onto each plate, sprinkle with some of the green onions and pistachios, and serve while hot.
- You can also make this ahead. Remove the rice from the oven, sprinkle with the seasonings and fluff the rice with the forks, breaking up clumps of moist rice as you find it. Continue to fluff the rice with the forks until the rice is fully cooled. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm gently, add the fruits and nuts, toss and serve.
- Of course this is a perfect side dish for any of your favorite main courses, but it is also wonderful as a base for any of the kebabs in today’s Progressive Eats round up. Enjoy!
- Galouti Kebab from Spice Roots
- Salad Kebabs from Miss in the Kitchen
- Hoisin Glazed Chicken Kebabs from Healthy Delicious
- Grilled Vegetable Shish Kebabs from Mother Would Know
- How to Cook Perfect Steak Kabobs from Barbara Bakes
- Salmon Kebabs from Stetted
- Naan – A Traditional Indian Flatbread from Creative Culinary
- Basmati Rice with Apples, Dried Cranberries & Almonds from The Heritage Cook
- Paneer Biryani with Cucumber Raita and Mint Chutney from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Bloody Beer w/ Antipasto Kebab garnish from girlichef
- Strawberry-Rose Kulfi with Pistachios from Pastry Chef Online
- Fruit Kebabs with White Chocolate Mascarpone Dip from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Create a New Tradition Today!
To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information. We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and who knows, if there is enough interest, we may consider adding additional groups.
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