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Recipe: Pink Lady apple Persian jewelled rice with pomegranate duck

5th June 2014

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Deliciously aromatic, deceptively impressive-looking, and jam-packed with goodness, this sustaining rice dish takes just 30 minutes to prepare and cook. This heavenly Aladdin’s cave of flavours and textures is rich in vitamin C, iron and loaded with an excellent balance of slow release carbohydrate, protein and healthy fats to super-fuel your life!

Serves: 4

Preparation Time: 10 minutes        

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

You’ll need:

For the yoghurt sauce:

200g low-fat natural yoghurt

Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of ground cumin

Pinch of ground coriander

For the duck:

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

½ tsp salt

2 large duck breasts, skin on (about 0.5 kg)

1 tbsp pomegranate molasses

For the rice:

25g unsalted butter

1 cinnamon stick

2 cardamom pods, lightly crushed in a pestle and mortar

1 bay leaf

Pinch of saffron (optional)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

250g basmati rice

Seeds of 1 pomegranate

2 small Pink Lady apples, unpeeled, cored and diced

Large bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped

25g shelled pistachios, roughly chopped

What to do:

1. Make the yoghurt sauce by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl. Chill in the fridge until ready to use.

2. Pre-heat a small griddle or frying pan to medium. Combine the cumin, coriander and salt, then using a sheet of kitchen towel, dry the duck breasts. Rub the spice mix all over the duck, then using a new sheet of kitchen towel, pat the breasts dry again and place skin side down on to the pan. You won’t need to use any fat.

3. Fry over a low to medium heat for about 7 minutes, until the skin is crispy and then turn over to cook on the other side for a further 7 minutes (perhaps a little longer, depending on the size of the duck breasts). Transfer to a warm plate and leave to rest. Set the duck pan to one side for use later.

4. While the duck is cooking, prepare the rice. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, bay leaf, saffron, a good pinch of salt and four or five grinds of black pepper. Stir the spices around in the butter for about 1 minute and then stir in the rice. Add enough water to cover the rice by about 1.5 cm (a good measure is to stick your index finger into the water, it should come up to the first joint). Bring to the boil uncovered, stir, then cover tightly and leave to simmer gently for 8 minutes. Then turn off the heat and leave for a further 5 minutes. Take off the lid, fluff up the rice and gently stir in the pomegranate seeds, Pink Lady apple and parsley. Transfer to a warmed serving dish.

5. On a chopping board, carve each duck breast on a slant into fairly thin slices. Add the pomegranate molasses to the pan you used to cook the duck (you may need to add a little water if the molasses is very thick) and gently warm through. Quickly toss the duck breast slices in the warmed pomegranate molasses, then arrange on top of the rice.

6. Sprinkle over the pistachio nuts and a little chopped parsley, and serve with the yoghurt sauce on the side.

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