I really enjoy me some bourbon, so you could imagine my delight when Jim Beam offered to send me a couple bottles in exchange for a delicious recipe. They must have seen booze week! Normally I like my bourbon plain, so I was a bit hesitant to try the Red Stag flavors like Spiced, Cherry, and Honey Tea. I found the tea variety to be an odd flavor match for the bourbon, but really enjoyed the cherry and spiced flavors. I ended up using both bourbons in this Persian influenced recipe.
I've made Persian cherry rice before, but thought it needed more cherry flavor throughout the rice and not just in the cherry bites. A bit of cherry flavored bourbon was just the thing to spread the cherry flavor around.
I soaked the cherries in the bourbon for about a half hour before it was time to use them.
After par cooking the rice, you add it to a pot with lots of butter and pour the bourbon/cherry mixture and some water and saffron on top.
While the rice cooks some more to develop that sweet sweet tah-dig (crispy layer), I got the meat going in another pan. I found the spiced bourbon to taste a lot more like cinnamon than other "spiced" rums and liquors normally do. I took advantage of this cinnamon taste to build the flavor profile of the meat.
After cooking the onions and meat down a little, the garlic and spices go in followed by the bourbon.
A little worcestershire rounds things out nicely. This obviously isn't a traditional Persian dish, It's just inspired by that cuisine.
The crispy colorful rice is what makes Persian food amazing.
I really loved this dish. My roommate and I sat there on a Sunday afternoon just shoveling it down! I hadn't had crispy rice in awhile and wondered why it had been so long.
There is a great mix of sweet, sour, and savory going on here.
The bourbon creates a nice background depth of flavor.
2 Cups Rice
3/4 Cup Butter
1/3 Cup Cherry Bourbon
2 Teaspoons Saffron
2 Tablespoons Warm Water
1/2 Stick Butter
1 1/2 Pounds Sliced Beef for Stir Fry
1 Medium Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Tablespoon Ras El Hanout spice blend (homemade is preferred)
1/2 Cup Spiced Bourbon
1/4 Cup Worcestershire
De-pit cherries and soak in the bourbon. Soak the saffron in the warm water. Rinse rice then boil for about 8 minutes until the rice still has a bite to it but is starting to cook at the edges. Drain. Melt the butter in a dutch oven over high heat. Add half the rice and mix well. Top with the other half of the rice and pour the cherry/bourbon mixture and the saffron/water mixture on top of the rice. Cover with a kitchen towel and put the cover to the pot on top of the towel. Cook on high for another 5 or so minutes, followed by about 20 minutes on low. Keep your nose vigilant and if it smells burn-y, cut the heat sooner.
While the rice is cooking in it's second phase, sear the meat and add the onions to soften and brown a bit. Add the garlic and spices and stir another minute or so. Add the bourbon and cook a few minutes while scraping the pan. (there may be flames so use caution!) Add the worcestershire and cook on low till everything forms a nice sauce and the rice is done. Serve by topping the rice with the meat.