When I made the spice-crusted lamb, I mentioned the grape-almond port sauce from the Sunday Suppers winter dinner. I love being surprised by things, and the grapes in the sauce definitely did that for me. And I left that dinner wanting to make it again.
Only the next time I made lamb, I couldn’t give up my mint. So I switched the sauce to a side and was equally happy with the result.
We didn’t have port on hand, and I am not sure if I would have used it in the rice regardless, but wine we do have and I figured it would amp up the rice … it works great it risottos. I subbed half the water (or stock) that I normally use in rice for red wine, giving the grain a vivid color and bright taste.
It is easy to forget how such a simple substitution can really change the dynamic of a whole dish.
We finished the cooked rice with some toasted slivered almonds and halved red grapes. The nutty crunch from the almonds and the pop of the grapes made the rice, well, fun.
And who doesn’t want a fun side?
Rice with Red Wine, Grapes & Almonds
NOTE: this recipe uses a standard 1 rice: 2 liquid ratio. If the rice you use calls for a different ratio, change the liquid as necessary.
1 c. long grain white rice
1 c. red wine
1 c. water
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 T. olive oil
½ c. blanched, slivered almonds, toasted
1 c. halved red grapes
In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat and add onion. Cook until onion has softened slightly but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and continue to cook, toasting the grains for about another 2 minutes. The rice will turn slightly opaque.
Add the wine and water and a pinch of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until liquid is absorbed, about 18 minutes. Remove from heat and keep covered, let stand for 5 minutes.
Fluff rice with fork and mix in toasted almonds and grape halves. Season to taste with additional salt if necessary.