Growing up, we had a pomegranate tree on our street and I remember thinking that those ruby globes were the most magical of fruits–like geodes from trees. I still kind of feel the same, and with the news of their super-duper antioxidant powers, my appreciation has even deepened. I have found that adding pomegranate seeds to savory dishes adds sparkle, crunch and zing, and so I am pretty smitten with this lovely pilaf recipe from Eating Well magazine.
Simple yet creative and elegant, this pilaf marries the great texture of barley and wild rice with the buttery crunch of toasted pine nuts and the fresh tang of pomegranate seeds. Wild rice, a staple of Native Americans in Minnesota, is not a rice at all but rather the only aquatic-derived grain native to North America. Wild rice and barley make a compatible pair with their similar cooking times.
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup wild rice, rinsed
1/2 cup pearl barley
3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 cup pomegranate seeds, (1 large fruit)
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened. Add wild rice and barley; stir for a few seconds. Add broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the wild rice and barley are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 45 to 50 minutes
2. Meanwhile, toast pine nuts in a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until light golden and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl to cool.
3. Add pomegranate seeds, lemon zest, parsley and toasted pine nuts to the pilaf; fluff with a fork. Serve hot.
To avoid the enduring stains of pomegranate juice, work under water! Fill a large bowl with water. Hold the pomegranate in the water and slice off the crown. Lightly score the fruit into quarters, from crown to stem end. Keeping the fruit under water, break it apart, gently separating the plump arils from the outer skin and white pith. The seeds will drop to the bottom of the bowl and the pith will float to the surface. Discard the pith. Pour the seeds into a colander. Rinse and pat dry. The seeds can be frozen in an airtight container or sealable bag for up to three months.
Per serving: 204 calories; 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat, 3g mono unsaturated fat); 3 mg cholesterol; 31 g carbohydrates; 7 g protein; 4 g fiber; 75 mg sodium; 250 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Magnesium (15 percent daily value).
Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 fat.
Carbohydrate Servings: 2.
Yield: 6 servings, 3/4 cup each.
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