For about the past year I have started putting food items on my Christmas list. They are usually things that I can't find or that I want but wouldn't spend my own money on. For my birthday last year, Brett's mom was kind enough to indulge my eccentric wish list by getting me some saffron. This is one of the most expensive spices out there (more expensive than silver by weight!) so I definitely was not going to buy it myself. And I wasn't going to use it frivolously either.
I saw Giada making saffron rice on TV a while back and actually wrote down the entire recipe while I watched the show. I stumbled across the recipe as we were straightening up around the apartment recently, and decided that it would be a great way to use saffron for the first time.
I cooked some bacon (the recipe called for pancetta but I already had bacon on hand) and then poured the drippings into a pot along with 1/2 a T of butter. That's what Giada did on TV even though the online recipe says to discard the drippings. I sauteed a chopped Spanish onion until it was soft and translucent.
I had never used basmati rice but the package said "aromatic" so of course the first thing I did when I opened the package was smell it. Unfortunately my first thought was "dog food." But I decided that I would use it anyway and poured it in with the onions and stirred it around until the grains started to brown just a tiny bit.
I poured in a box of chicken stock, less salt than the recipe called for, and a precious pinch of saffron. I put the lid on and let it simmer away. The recipe said to let it cook for 20 minutes, but I'm so thankful that I'm a hovering cook because I checked on it in five minute intervals. I was surprised that all the liquid was absorbed and the rice was cooked after only 10 minutes!
I was so excited to try it that I forgot to put the bacon crumbles on top! It was delicious! About half way through my meal I remembered my bacon, but I actually preferred it without. The bacon taste is so strong that it overpowers the rice. Brett liked it too, which is a good thing because we ended up with a TON of leftovers. Next time I will half the recipe and use an olive oil/butter combo instead of messing with bacon.