Saffron Rice Pilaf
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
2 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
4 cardamom pods
1 small cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
10 black peppercorns
2 1/2 cups long grain white rice
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
Zest from one orange
2 tablespoons pistachios
2 tablespoons blanched slivered or sliced almonds
2 tablespoons golden raisins
Heat a large kettle of water to boiling. Place saffron in a small bowl, cover with 2 tablespoons of the hot water, set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of ghee or clarified butter in a 2 quart, thick-bottomed saucepan on medium-high heat until hot. Add the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, cloves, and peppercorns to the pan. Gently fry the spices for 2 minutes.
Add rice, and fry for 3 more minutes, stirring after a minute or two. Some of the rice should brown at the bottom of the pan.
Remove the pan from heat. Add four cups of the hot water you prepared in step one to the pan, taking care to add slowly as it may bubble up and splatter. Add two teaspoons of salt. Add the saffron threads and their soaking liquid. Add the orange zest. Stir, bring quickly to a boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Cover tightly and cook for 20 minutes.
While the rice is cooking, in a small frying pan, heat on medium high heat and add the pistachios and slivered almonds. Toast until lightly browned, about 3 or 4 minutes, remove from pan into a bowl.
After 20 minutes, remove the lid from the rice, pick out the spices that have floated to the top of the rice - the cinnamon stick, any whole cardamom pods, black peppercorns or cloves. Scatter golden raisins over the top of the rice. Replace the lid and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in the toasted almonds and pistachios and serve.