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Fancy Saffron Rice

Serves 4 to 6

Saffron imparts a luminous golden hue and a floral aroma that turns ordinary rice into gold. Fennel has a mild, sweet licorice taste.

1 cup chicken stock

¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

¼ cup currants or raisins

Generous pinch saffron, crumbled

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon fennel seeds

⅛ teaspoon chopped fresh chili, or to taste

½ cup minced fennel

½ cup minced onion

1 cup Jasmine rice

¼ cup toasted pine nuts

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup frozen baby peas, thawed

Stir together the chicken stock, orange juice, and ¼ cup of water in a small bowl and add the currants and saffron. Let the currants soak for 30 minutes.

Heat the butter and the olive oil in a heavy saucepot with a tight-fitting lid and set over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, add the fennel seeds and the chili. Allow to infuse for about 1 minute. Add the fennel and onion and sauté until the vegetables soften a bit, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the rice, stirring, until it gives off a nutty aroma, about 1 minute or so. Add the currant-stock mixture, the pine nuts and the salt and bring to a boil. Stir once, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 16 [ET1] minutes.

Remove the pot from heat and let stand, covered, for 7 minutes. Uncover, fold in the peas, fluff with a fork and serve.

(From Signs & Seasons: An Astrology Cookbook. Copyright © 2017 by Monte Farber and Amy Zerner, with Chef John Okas. Reprinted with permission by HarperElixir, a line of HarperOne, a division of HarperCollinsPublishers.)

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