What would any holiday be without serving traditional pilaf? Christine Vartanian Datian learned from the best – her mother Alice Vartanian and her late grandmother, Pepay Sarkisian. They taught her how to prepare many holiday dishes including this festive nut-and fruit-topped pilaf.
Christine’s recipe for Armenian Pilaf with Raisins and Almonds was originally published in the New York Times 2014 Thanksgiving Food Blog.
This updated version of a family favorite is in demand, especially during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.
Armenian Pilaf with Raisins and Almonds
A festive version of a classic pilaf recipe that is perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.
- 4½ tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ cup dried vermicelli (crushed or broken into pieces- may substitute Angel hair pasta)
- 2 cups long-grain white rice
- 4 cups fat-skimmed chicken or turkey broth
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper (black or white)
- ½ cup almonds, preferably Marcona if available (coarsely chopped)
- ½ cup raisins, golden or black (coarsely chopped)
- ½ cup frozen petite peas
- 2½ tbsp fresh flat leaf Italian parsley (chopped)
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- In a 5- to 6-quart pan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Break vermicelli into 1-inch lengths. Add pasta and rice to 3 tablespoons butter and stir often until golden, about 5-8 minutes.
- Add the broth, allspice, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until rice is tender to bite, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in an 8- to 10-inch sauté pan over medium heat, melt remaining 1 or 2 tablespoons butter. Add the almonds, and stir often until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the raisins and stir until they puff, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Stir peas, parsley, and lemon juice into rice. Cover and simmer until peas are hot, about 3-4 minutes, and remove from heat. Allow pilaf to sit another 10 minutes. When the liquid is fully absorbed, it is ready to serve. Serve pilaf in a bowl or on a platter and sprinkle with the raisin and nut mixture.
Diced dried dates, pistachios, and apricots may also be used in this topping.
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