Orange-Saffron Scented Rice Salad with a Hint of Hazelnut

Aired November 20, 2012

Serves 10-12
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
Olive oil cooking spray
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
5 1/2 cups homemade or store-bought chicken stock
1 heavy pinch saffron threads, about 1/2 teaspoon
1/3 cup golden raisins
5 to 6 golden beets, peeled and chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 cups long grain white rice
Juice of 3 organic oranges
About 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons hot sauce
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon super-fine sugar
2 teaspoons each onion powder or granulated onion, sweet paprika, coriander and celery salt
About 2/3 cup of EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 oranges, supremed and chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
1 Fresno or jalapeo chili, chopped
5 to 6 thin scallions, thinly sliced on bias, for garnish
1/2 cup chopped, toasted hazelnuts, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425F. Arrange squash on a baking sheet and spray to lightly coat with olive oil cooking spray. Season liberally with salt, pepper and lightly with freshly grated nutmeg. Roast to brown at edges and tender, 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring stock and saffron to boil. Add raisins, beets, carrots, rice and stir; return to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 18 minutes. Rice should be golden in color and very fluffy.

In a large bowl, whisk together orange juice, vinegar, hot sauce, sugar, onion powder, paprika, coriander, celery salt, pepper and EVOO. Add squash, rice, oranges, onions, sweet and hot peppers. Stir to coat and combine salad. Serve warm, room temp or cold. garnished with scallions and toasted hazelnuts.

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