Baked mint rice with pome­gran­ate and olive salsa

Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - FOODLESSISMOREISH -

Cook­ing rice per­fectly is one of those things that shouldn’t be com­pli­cated but can be sur­pris­ingly dif­fi­cult, for some, to get right. Bak­ing it in the oven, on the other hand, as I do here, is a com­pletely fool­proof method (and one that worked, in­ci­den­tally, when feed­ing 700 peo­ple over two sit­tings at the Wilder­ness fes­ti­val in 2017!). This is such a great side to all sorts of dishes: roasted root veg­eta­bles, slow-cooked lamb or pork. To get ahead, the salsa can be made a few hours in ad­vance and kept in the fridge. SERVES 6 400g bas­mati rice 50g un­salted but­ter, melted 800ml boil­ing wa­ter 50g mint (40g left on the sprigs; leaves shred­ded for the re­main­ing 10g, to use in the salsa) 150g feta, crum­bled into 1cm-2cm pieces salt and black pep­per

SALSA

40g pit­ted green olives, thinly sliced seeds from 1 small pome­gran­ate (90g prepped seeds) 50g wal­nut halves, lightly roasted and roughly bro­ken 3 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp pome­gran­ate mo­lasses 1 small gar­lic clove, peeled and crushed

1 Pre­heat the oven to 230C fan (250C/ gas 10), or as high as it will go. 2 Place the rice in a high-sided oven­proof dish, mea­sur­ing 20cm x 30cm. Sea­son with ¾ tea­spoon of salt and plenty of pep­per, then pour over the but­ter and boil­ing wa­ter. Top with the sprigs of mint and cover the dish tightly with tin­foil so that the rice is well sealed. Bake for 25 min­utes, un­til the rice is light and fluffy and all the liq­uid has been ab­sorbed. 3 Mean­while, place all the in­gre­di­ents for the salsa, mi­nus the 10g shred­ded mint, in a medium bowl with ¼ tea­spoon of salt. Mix well and set aside. 4 Take the rice out of the oven, and re­move and dis­card the foil. Pull the leaves off the mint sprigs – the stalks can be dis­carded – then place th­ese back on the rice and sprin­kle with the feta. Just be­fore serv­ing, stir the shred­ded mint into the salsa and spoon evenly over the rice. Serve hot.

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