Preparation time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 2+ hrs
Difficulty: Easy - for beginners
Dietary guidance: v v n g d
1 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons - 1 cup margarine (I'm lactose intolerant and use a vegan version.)
1 large pinch of Saffron strands
1 Butternut Squash â€“ skinned, seeded & cubed
1 lb (4 Cups) Basmati Rice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion â€“ thinly sliced
1 red-skin potato â€“ cubed
1 cinnamon stick
Microwave the sugar, saffron, margarine and 1 tablespoon of water (if needed for consistency) until the margarine melts (about 1 minute), set aside to infuse.
Rinse the rice in a sieve using warm water (to wash away extra starch). Add rice to a pan of boiling salted water and cook for exactly 5 minutes â€“ al dente, not done.
Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large flame-proof casserole (A deep Le Crueset is great!). Add the onion, potato & squash. Cook until they begin to brown. Turn off the heat.
Spoon ½ of the veggie mixture into a bowl. Spoon ½ of the saffron mixture over the veggies in the casserole. Top that with ½ the rice, then the reserved veggies, then the rest of the rice. Drizzle the remaining saffron mixture on top, then break the cinnamon stick on top of that.
Cover the pan tightly (I put a dish towel between the lid and pot) and cook (steam, really) over the lowest heat possible for at least 30 minutes, until the rice is completely tender and has formed a golden crust on the bottom - but leaving it up to 2 hours on low heat really steams in the cinnamon and crusts up the bottom.
Remove the cinnamon stick, stir all the layers together and chow down!