Saffron and Pistachio Rice Stuffed Onion

Saffron and Pistachio Rice Stuffed Onion

On my most recent trip to Istanbul I was very fortunate to take one of the best food tours I’ve ever taken. The tour guide was able to help me buy a fairly large quantity of high quality Iranian saffron for much less than I’d be able to find anywhere else. Now that I’m in Granada I figured I’d open up my suitcase and see what I could make with some of the saffron. The result: This Saffron and Pistachio Rice stuffed onion.

Stuffed peppers may be more popular when it comes to stuffing things, but in my opinion a stuffed onion can be just as delicious. After all, it’s the filling that matters. In this case its a simple rice based filling seasoned with saffron and chopped pistachios.

The trick with stuffing onions is to boil them for about 20 minutes before starting. This softens the layers and makes it much easier to pop them out. If you just take a raw onion and try to pop out the layers, you’ll end up breaking them all. Plus, while you are boiling the onions, you can also work on the rice.

Iranian Saffron
A good amount of Iranian Saffron I brought with me from my trip to Istanbul

This is a pretty easy overall dish that is mostly spent waiting, so you can treat this entire thing as a simple appetizer while working on the main dish.

Saffron And Pistachio Rice Stuffed Onion Ingredients

1 large Onion; Yellow was used for this recipe, but white should also be able to work. I would avoid using red as boiling it pretty much ruins what is great about red onions.

1 cup Rice. I used long grain rice for this, but try experimenting with whatever you can!

3 stamens Saffron. You really never need a lot of saffron when you cook with this spice, which is good because it can get so expensive.

1/2 cup Pistachios; chopped.

2 tbsp Olive Oil; plus a lot more to drizzle over the stuffed onions before and after the oven.

1 tsp Salt; to taste

Saffron and Pistachio Rice Stuffed Onion Instructions

1. The first thing you’ll have to do is boil the onions to help the various layers separate. Take an onion, slice about a centimeter off the top and bottom and just drop into boiling water for about 15 minutes. Don’t worry about the skin, that’ll fall off later. Once soft, drop the onion into a bowl of ice water to cool them down, and using your hands run your fingers in between the layers so they separate and you can pull the inside ones out through one of the holes.

2. While you are boiling the onions you can make the rice. I use a 2:1 rule and chose a standard long grain rice for this dish. While the rice is cooking and the onions are boiling, time to make the saffron oil.

3. In a saucepan begin heating the olive oil. Right when it is about to smoke, drop in 3 stamens of saffron. This helps them release their flavor as well as the traditional yellow color. You only need to fry the stamen for about 20 seconds (longer if the quality of your saffron is not very good).

Saffron and Pistachio Rice Stuffed Onion before the oven
Before The Oven

4. When the rice is done, pour in the saffron oil and the chopped pistachios and add the pinch of salt and mix well. Using a spoon scoop the rice mixture into an onion shell and place on its side in a baking dish. Drizzle all the onions with olive oil and place in an oven preheated to 165 Celsius for 15 minutes, or until the onion skin just begins to brown on the edges.

5. Serve the saffron and pistachio rice stuffed onion hot, either as an appetizer or a main course.

Notes

As this is a basic stuffed onion recipe, you can fill the onion shell with whatever you like, from other grains, to adding pretty much any meat you can think of. Fill it with Italian sausage and parmesan cheese for an Italian take on it, similar to my Stuffed Bell Peppers.

Saffron Rice stuffed onion

Saffron and Pistachio Rice Stuffed Onion

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Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Stuffed Onion
Calories:

Ingredients

  • 1 Onion large
  • 1 cup Rice long grain works well
  • 3 stamens Saffron
  • 1/2 cup Pistachios chopped
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil plus more for drizzle
  • 1 tsp Salt to taste

Instructions

  • The first thing you'll have to do is boil the onions to help the various layers separate. Take an onion, slice about a centimeter off the top and bottom and just drop into boiling water for about 15 minutes. Don't worry about the skin, that'll fall off later. Once soft, drop the onion into a bowl of ice water to cool them down, and using your hands run your fingers in between the layers so they separate and you can pull the inside ones out through one of the holes.
  • While you are boiling the onions you can make the rice. I use a 2:1 rule and chose a standard long grain rice for this dish. While the rice is cooking and the onions are boiling, time to make the saffron oil.
  • In a saucepan begin heating the olive oil. Right when it is about to smoke, drop in 3 stamens of saffron. This helps them release their flavor as well as the traditional yellow color. You only need to fry the stamen for about 20 seconds (longer if the quality of your saffron is not very good).
  • When the rice is done, pour in the saffron oil and the chopped pistachios and add the pinch of salt and mix well. Using a spoon scoop the rice mixture into an onion shell and place on its side in a baking dish. Drizzle all the onions with olive oil and place in an oven preheated to 165 Celsius for 15 minutes, or until the onion skin just begins to brown on the edges.
  • Serve the pistachio and saffron rice stuffed onions hot, either as an appetizer or a main course.
Did you make this?Mention @CookingToEntertain or tag #cookingtoentertain and let me know how it was!