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Sides, Vegetarian

Herbed rice with seasoned currants

It's become tradition at my house to make new traditions, especially during Rosh Hashana, which begins today at sundown. Unlike the holiday meal for Passover, with its ingredient restrictions, the feast for the Jewish New Year is guided by symbolism: ... Read more

Total time: 45 minutes, plus 4 hours marinating | Serves 6
  • 1 cup currants, rinsed and dried
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 pressed garlic cloves
  • 5/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided, or more to taste
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 large)
  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

Step 1Prepare the seasoned currants first, so they'll have a chance to marinate. In a small glass or ceramic bowl, mix the currants with the one-fourth cup oil, vinegar, thyme and garlic. Season with about one-eighth teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper. Let stand at least 4 hours before serving. (Makes about 1 cup.)

Step 2To prepare the rice, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium saucepan and cook the onion on medium heat until golden, stirring occasionally. Add the rice and cook until the grains are coated in oil, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Step 3Pour in the boiling water. Season with the cinnamon, salt and remaining black pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let the rice sit undisturbed for 10 minutes.

Step 4In a small pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and cook the pine nuts until golden. Using a fork, stir the pine nuts, mint and parsley into the rice. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter and garnish with 3 to 4 tablespoons seasoned currants.

Note: From "The Essential Book of Jewish Festival Cooking." You'll be using only a few tablespoons of the seasoned currants for this recipe. Store the remainder in a closed container in the refrigerator and use as a garnish for salads, vegetable dishes and meats.
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