It’s so close I can taste it! Christmas Eve supper (or Christmas day lunch/dinner for whoever celebrates it on the 25th)! Family at the table, waiting to devour all of these amazing, delicious dishes. And then, at midnight, we gather around the tree to open the gifts! Isn’t that the best day ever?!? Yes it is! Yes it is!
So what are you cooking for the big day? I’m still working on my menu but I know I’m making my traditional Christmas turkey (I hope my in-laws are not sick of turkey because of Thanksgiving! But then again…Who would be sick of turkey???) and this delicious Rice with Raisins and Almonds!
I only make this rice for Christmas. So I spend all year waiting to eat it! I don’t know, the combination of nuts and raisins is so Christmasy to me… It’s the whole savory and sweet deal that is very popular during the holidays in Brazil. It goes great with turkey and/or with ham (we usually have both for Christmas!).
Now, I’m going to tell you a secret: you can follow my recipe below, or you can do a short cut by cooking the rice and then just mixing some hydrated raisins and some toasted slivered almonds. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone I told you that or my recipe-developing business will go kaput. So what is the benefit of using your recipe?, you might ask. Well, the champagne, of course! It gives this dish a little “special” quality, that goes so well with the holidays. I cook the (2 cups of) rice with 1 1/2 cup champagne and 3 cups of water (because in my opinion cooking with 4 cups champagne makes the rice a little bitter…But go ahead if that suits your taste!). Also, the alcohol will evaporate, but if you want to omit it altogether, just substitute it for water or chicken/vegetable broth (for a little flavor).
Also, I was supposed to have sprinkled some fresh chopped parsley on the rice before taking the pictures, but by the time I went to get it, guess what?!?, there was none! That’s the downside of not having my husband around all day to make emergency grocery runs! (He got a new job! Yayyyyy!) I hope you guys forgive me, with all your hearts! FORGIVE ME, PLEASE! It’s Christmas!!! :( :( :(
I know I’m biased, but this is my favorite Christmas side dish. And I promise this has nothing to do with me being obsessed with rice – which I am! – but with this being a really awesome Christmas side dish! The rice absorbs the turkey’s gravy and it is just perfection. And the crunchy salty almonds with the sweet raisins are also perfection! And let’s be honest, Christmas food is all about perfection. It just has to be perfect because it only happens once a year!!! No pressure… :-)
P.S. Oh, what did you guys think of the Christmas lights in the pictures? I was doing my morning visit to my favorite food bloggers and I found this post from the amazing Annie at Ciao Chow Bambina and I absolutely loved it! So thank you, Annie, for the inspiration! :) (That popcorn also looks crazy good!)
- 2 cups white long grain rice (Jasmine will do!), washed
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- 1½ cup champagne
- 3 cups water
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped parsley to decorate
- Put the water to boil in a tea kettle.
- In a large pot, over medium heat, add the butter and the olive oil. Once hot, add the onion and sauté until translucent.
- Add the rice and let it fry with the onions for a couple of minutes or until it starts forming clumps. Add the boiling water, the salt and pepper and - when the water boils again - lower the heat to the lowest setting.
- After about 10 minutes, once the water is almost all evaporated, add the champagne and the raisins and cook until all the liquid is gone.
- Turn the heat off and let the rice sit untouched for at least 5 minutes.
- Fluff the rice with a fork and then gently fold in the almonds.
- Sprinkle some chopped parsley before serving.