Cinnamon-Scented Rice Pilaf with Apricots & Raisins

This recipe calls for your making a bouquet garni, which means you simply tie spices up in cheesecloth like a money bag. This makes it easy to remove the spices when the rice is done. Some recipes suggest putting the spices into a tea strainer, but I don't recommend it because you can't squeeze out all the flavor like you can with from the cheesecloth pouch. 

Bouquet Garni

12 whole peppercorns
12 whole cloves
1 large cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
6 whole cardamom pods, smashed lightly to expose  seeds,  or ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

Rice Pilaf

¼ pound (1 stick) butter or margarine
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
4½ cups boiling chicken broth
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup chopped green onion

  1. To make bouquet garni, cut a piece of cheesecloth into a 4-inch square. Place peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon stick,  garlic, and cardamom in center of cloth. Bring edges together at the top to make a small pouch.  Tie with string and cut off excess cheesecloth. 
  2. Melt butter in a medium-size, heavy saucepan.  Saute onion until soft. Add rice and saute, stirring often, until lightly browned. Slowly stir in chicken broth and turmeric. Add bouquet garni, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until almost all liquid is absorbed. 
  3. Stir in raisins and apricots. Cover and simmer 5 more minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. 
    MAKE AHEAD:  Rice may be held at room temperature up to 4 hours. Reheat covered in microwave.
  4. Before serving, remove bouquet garni. Season withsalt and pepper.

 Makes 10 to 12 servings.

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