Thanksgiving is all about abundance or, often, overabundance. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With healthy updates to classic dishes, the Thanksgiving recipes showcased here from Pereg Gourmet use high-impact flavors like fresh herbs and spices and seasonal fruits and vegetables to minimize the need for gobs of fattening oils, cream and salt. If you are hosting this year, Pereg also offers some tips on using spice rubs and brining to bring the most flavor and tenderness to your bird. If you’re not hosting this year, choose one of our healthy sides to make for your host, and you’ll all enjoy a delicious, healthy Thanksgiving.
Drain off soaking water and rinse rice. Par-boil: Place in saucepan and cover with water 1” above rice. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until al dente, 20 minutes. Strain and set aside.
Using a vegetable peeler, peel the rind off of the orange, leaving behind as much of the white pith as possible. Slice peel into thin strips.
In a mortar and pestle, combine saffron threads with a generous pinch of salt. Grind until it turns into a powder. Place saffron powder in a small bowl and mix with 2 tsp. hot (not boiling) water. Set aside.
In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, heat olive oil on a medium heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add carrots and stir. Cook 5 minutes.
Add cinnamon, cardamom and coriander and stir to coat, cooking 1 minute until toasty and fragrant.
Add orange peel, cherries, and raisins. Stir to combine.
Add par-boiled rice, 2 cups water, and saffron mixture. Gently stir. Cover with a lid, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until rice is tender and water is absorbed, 30-40 minutes.
While the rice is cooking, toast nuts in a 300 degree F oven or dry skillet. Roughly chop.
When rice is cooked, stir in 3/4's of the nuts, pomegranate seeds and mint, reserving some for garnish. Serve on a large platter topped off with remaining nuts, mint and pomegranate seeds.
Editor and Chief Eating Officer of PhoenixBites, 2017 Food Writer of the Year (Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame)
Taryn grew up in a small town in Illinois with a doting Grandmother who taught her the way around a kitchen and that food is representative of love. Her current quest is to find the love in local dishes and the chefs behind them.
In addition to running all things PhoenixBites, Taryn is also a freelance writer, sharing her insight on the best dishes and where to get them each and every month.
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