Lemon Merguez Rice
I've made a lot of one pot recipes with rice over the years. They are easy and tasty with the right spices, and I've adapted to using two pans, which is even faster. This one uses fresh merguez sausage, Tunisian preserved lemons, and our Moruno N21 blend, and is ready in a flash.
1 pound of fresh merguez sausage, chopped into 1" pieces
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup basmati or other long grain rice, rinsed
1 2/3 cups chicken stock, warmed
1 Tbsp Moruno N21
1 Tbsp salt-packed capers
4 slices Tunisian Preserved Lemon, chopped
3 Tbsp toasted pine nuts (optional but great)
1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
and/or 2 Tbsp dried cherries or raisins
1-2 cups fresh vegetables, I used haricot verts and pencil asparagus tips, but anything else that's quick cooking would be great
I use two pans so I can cook them everything at once, the pans also interlock, so I can use one as a lid when I make the rice. Instructions are for my two pan setup but you can also use any 10" pan with a dome lid.
Add a bit of olive oil to the smaller of the two pans, heat over medium-high, and fry the merguez until browned on all sides (about 5-6 minutes total). Meanwhile add a splash of olive oil to the other pan along with the onions and start sautéing those over medium heat, they should be translucent and soft around the same time the sausage is cooked. When the sausage is cooked turn off the heat under that pan.
Add the rice to the skillet with the onions and stir well to mix. Combine the chicken stock with all remaining ingredients except the vegetables, and once the rice has turned a bit translucent (2-3 minutes), add the liquid to the pan, mix well, and bring it to a boil.
Drop the pan with rice to a simmer, add the cooked merguez and as much of the fat as you prefer (I add it all), and place the pan you cooked the sausage in on top to act as a lid. Simmer for 20 minutes, then quickly open it, scatter the vegetables on top in an even layer, and close and cook for another 6-7 minutes.
Serve from the pan and season to taste with salt and fresh lemon juice.
Variations & Ideas
-A pinch of saffron added to the stock will add great aroma, color, and flavor.
- Instead of dried cherries or raisins you can use some Spiced Raisin Marmalata
- Adding a couple teaspoons of gelatin to the stock will add depth and texture to the final dish.
- Add a bit of the olive oil from the Tunisian Preserved Lemons for a deeper lemon flavor.
• You can make a vegan dish by substituting small cubes of chopped kabocha for the merguez and using water instead of chicken stock. Make sure to season fry the pumpkin in plenty of olive oil with a nice seasoning like Izak N37. You will likely need to add a bit of additional salt in the form of more capers and perhaps some chopped green olives or pickled beans.
• Once the dish is finished you can cook the rice for a few minutes over medium high with the lid off to get a layer of concentrated flavor at the bottom. It won't be crispy like tahdig, but it's delicious nonetheless.
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