Yellow Rice, the Best Way

MAKES: 4 servings

TIME: 30 minutes

There is the right way to make this and a number of easy ways; even the easy ways are good, but this right here with saffron and other spices and a couple of vegetables is really the ultimate. Vegan with oil instead of butter.

21/2 cups vegetable stock or water

Large pinch saffron threads

2 to 4 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

11/2 cups white rice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 ripe tomato, cored, seeded, and chopped

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

2 bay leaves

1 cup fresh or frozen peas

Chopped parsley leaves for garnish

Lemon wedges

Warm the stock with the saffron. Put the butter or oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter melts or the oil is hot, add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion turns translucent, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the garlic and the rice, sprinkle everything with salt and pepper, turn the heat to medium, and stir until the rice is glossy, completely coated with oil or butter, and starting to color lightly, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato, allspice, bay leaves, peas, and stock; stir, adjust the heat so that the liquid boils steadily but not violently, and cover.

Cook for about 15 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn the heat to the absolute minimum (if you have an electric stove, turn the heat off and let the pan sit on the burner) and let rest for another 15 to 30 minutes. Check the seasoning, garnish, and serve with lemon wedges.

Variation

Yellow Rice, the Fast Way. Omit the red pepper, tomato, allspice, bay leaves, and peas: Bring 3 cups of stock or water to a boil. Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice to the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until glossy. Add the saffron if you’re using it (or use 1 teaspoon ground turmeric), then the boiling stock. Adjust the heat and finish cooking as directed.