Jeweled Pumpkin Rice

A friend of mine is in love with butternut squash. Because of this "love" I share any butternut squash recipe with her. I saved a copy of this one for me to make. It sounded flavorful and I needed a side dish for dinner! The Clark's of Moro East Restaurant in London are to be credited with this recipe.

I was drawn to it because of the variety of spices, pistachios and.......the squash! (We did get a very nice butternut squash in our produce box Saturday.) I didn't even have to go to the store; for once, I had everything!

Jeweled Pumpkin Rice

1 pound peeled and seeded butternut squash, cut into 1/3 inch dice
1 tsp fine sea salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
Big pinch of saffron (about 50 strands)
3 1/2 oz unsalted butter
2 1/2 inch piece of cinnamon stick
4 allspice berries, crushed
1 large or 2 medium onions, thinly sliced across the grain
1/2 oz dried barberries (or currants)
2 o shelled unsalted pistachios
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
2/3 lb basmati rice, soaked in tepid, salted water for 1 hour
16 oz vegetable stock

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Toss the diced butternut squash with half of the salt and the olive oil. Spread it in a single layer in a baking tray and roast for 30 minutes or until tender. Mix the saffron with 3 Tbsp boiling water and add 1 oz of butter, which should melt. Set aside.

Heat the remaining butter in a medium saucepan with the cinnamon and allspice until it foams, then add the onion and the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt. Fry over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onion is soft and starting to color.

Add the barberries, pistachios and cardamom and cook for 10 minutes more, until the onion is golden and sweet.

Now drain the rice and add to the pan, stirring for a minute or two to coat, then pour in the stock. Taste for seasoning then scatter with the roast squash. Cover with a circle of grease-proof paper and a tight-fighting lid and cook over a high heat for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for a final 5 minutes.

Remove the lid and the grease-proof paper and drizzle with the buttery saffron water. Replace the lid and leave to rest, off the heat, for 5-10 minutes.


I enjoyed this side dish and the layers of flavor. It was a break from the usual routine.
The Kitchen Gnome loved it!


  1. Lets hear it for Butternut squash!!!! I love it too. We had a delightful soup dinner tonight at our friends house...2 soups! the maincourse was a pulled pork soup with spinach and every other vegetable you can think of...absolutely scrumptious. Then just a small bowl of a butternut squash rich and creamy! followed by and apple cake with a warm maple butter sauce...What a delicious evening!!! Yeah Butternut!!! xoxo~Kathy @ Sweet Up-North Mornings...

  2. Gosh...that looks beautiful and healthy! Love the colours and the nuts with the dried fruit...simply delightful!

  3. Oh, man, does this look good! I love all the spices in it. BUTTERY SAFFRON. Oh, yesssss!

  4. This looks absolutely beautiful. I will be trying it soon. Thanks.

    Carol at Serendipity

  5. This is just awesome! LAYERS of flavours, yum!

  6. Kate, I've just nominated you for a blog award!

  7. Looks delicious! I love the name of this dish too, sounds so inviting.

  8. This is the one! Thank you again for sharing-- I do love that butternut squash!

  9. Side dishes are the hardest for me. This looks great and so creative!

  10. Funny, I must have passed by Moro Restaurant this summer and didn't realize it! There are some great places popping up in that neighborhood.

  11. I love it. Beautifiul look to it. Bet it tastes great.


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