½ cup uncooked orzo pasta
½ cup sliced almonds
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¾ cup onions, diced small
¾ cup celery, diced small
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1 cup long grain white rice *
½ teaspoon dry thyme
¼ teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 cup dried cranberries
3 cups chicken stock
½ cup orange juice
3 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, (save and mince stems)
In a small saute pan over medium heat, add orzo and toss and cook for five minutes until it is nicely browned. Remove to a plate to cool.
Use same pan over medium heat and add almonds and cook for three minutes tossing often until they are lightly browned. Remove to a plate to cool and pick out any that browned too much.
In a 3-quart sauce pan that has a tight-fitting lid, add butter and oil over medium high heat.
Once melted, add onions, celery and garlic and saute for four minutes.
Lower heat to medium, add the raw white rice and stir into the onion celery mixture. Cook for two minutes stirring often then add the thyme, pepper, zest, cranberries and the browned orzo and stir and cook for one minute.
Add the stock, orange juice and minced parsley stems and bring to a boil. Then reduce to low, cover and cook fifteen minutes. (I leave my pan half off the heat to make sure the rice does not stick if the liquid evaporates too quickly)
After 15 minutes, remove cover, fluff with a fork and stir in the chopped parsley leaves and reserved almonds.
Fluff again, taste for seasoning and serve.
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*Do not use quick-cook rice.