Saffron Recipes

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Moghrabieh with Root Vegetables (Lebanese Couscous) Recipe

Moghrabieh, like rice or pasta, is a palette upon which many flavors can be layered. I love the combination of couscous and beluga lentils, and to this I added cumin, butternut squash, mint, onion, turnip and red chiles. It's a healthy and delicious meal that hits the spot on a cold day.

In Paris, where I grew up, there is a large population of North Africans, so I was familiar with the tiny variety of couscous. My first introduction to the larger Lebanese variety was when I visited Las Vegas a few years ago. My husband ordered a plate of moghrabieh with lentils and vegetables. He fell in love with it, and so did I. I've been cooking with it ever since.


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Saffron Cauliflower Gratin (Gratin de Chou Fleur au Safran) Recipe

Saffron is not a standard addition to cauliflower gratin, but I've seen it used at several upscale restaurants in Paris. Gratin de chou-fleur is a very common French dish, so the addition of saffron creates a new dimension of color and aroma.

As a child, I remember being served this side dish quite frequently during the winter. Cauliflower may not be considered by some as a comfort food, but when it's cooked in a béchamel sauce and smothered in mozzarella cheese, it will make even the most die-hard cauliflower haters reconsider their position.


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Saffron Pumpkin Soup Served in Mini Pumpkin Bowls Recipe

I remember having a delicious velouté de potiron au safran in a French restaurant back when I was still living in Paris. I remembered it had a very nice earthy flavor of pumpkin, chanterelles, walnuts and saffron. The flavors are perfect for Thanksgiving, and given the season, I thought I'd try to recreate it.

I roasted the pumpkin to enhance and accentuate the sweetness without overpowering the soup. Instead of using potatoes as a thickening agent as I normally do, I decided to add pan-fried plantains to complement the sweetness of the pumpkin.

To match the elegant flavors of the soup, I created bowls out of mini-pumpkins for serving. The final result was as visually appealing as it was delicious, and met with a round of "oohs" and "ahs" when I brought it to the dinner table. It's a great first course, and best of all, there aren't any plates to wash when everyone's done!

Veloute de potiron au safran


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Persian Basmati Rice with Raisins and Saffron Recipe

Recently we went to the home of  family friends for dinner. They made us an absolutely amazing home cooked Persian meal.  If I had known about all the incredible dishes that I was going to get to sample, I would have brought my camera to post them here!

One dish in particular that really stood out was the rice. Every culture that eats rice has its own particular method and manner of preparation. In our home, we make both sticky Asian jasmine rice and Indian basmati rice to satisfy the different palates.

What's different about this Persian rice recipe is that it's not just a neutral medium for delivering the flavors of a main course. It is prepared in such a way that it is delicious on its own. Cooked basmati rice forms the base, but to this are added saffron, fried onions, butter, and flavored raisins. The final product is ethereal, yet rich.

I've had it at restaurants many times, but never with the care and quality that was put into this preparation. as if that weren't enough, we also had another Persian rice recipe made with dill, but that's another post...


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Cumin and Saffron Flavored Butternut Squash Risotto Recipe

If Fall had a flavor, it would be butternut squash. I know pumpkins are the symbol of Halloween, and sweet potatoes are a staple of Thanksgiving meals, but to me, nothing compares to the earthy sweetness and versatility of butternut squash. It works perfectly in salads, soups, side dishes, and, in the case of this risotto, as a main course.

To prepare this dish, I just diced and roasted some butternut squash and mixed it with a pot of risotto I infused with saffron. It's a simple, no frills preparation that really highlights the flavor and texture of the butternut squash.


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