Here is a perfect accompaniment to any authentic Persian Dinner, by our good friend, Parvaneh Holloway.
3 cups Long Grain Rice, clean and wash
3 cups Black-Eyed Peas, clean and soak over night
3 medium Onions, peel and chop
10 Dates, pitted and cut in half
2 cups Raisins
1 cup Slivered Almonds
6 teaspoons Persian Spices Blend
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 cup Olive Oil
8 cloves Garlic, 4 whole with skin on, and 4 crushed
2 medium Potatoes, peel, sliced 1/8th inch thick, and place in cold water
3/4 teaspoon Saffron, dissolved in 2 tablespoon of hot water
4 tablespoons Butter
3 tablespoons Salt, for water
Clean and wash rice 5 times in cold water, or until the water runs clear. (This removes excess starch.)
Rinse beans and place in large pot, fill the pot with cold water and bring to the boil. Once it is boiling, add 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, and 2 teaspoon of Persian spice. Cook on a low heat for about 30 minutes until beans are nearly cooked. Drain in colander over a bowl, and keep liquid. You may use this liquid instead of water.
Otherwise, bring 10 cups of water, and 2 tablespoons of salt to the boil in a non-stick pot. Pour the washed and drained rice into the boiling water. Boil briskly for 6 minutes, stirring gently twice to loosen any grains of rice that may have stuck to the bottom. Drain rice in a colander and rinse in lukewarm water. Mix beans with rice and set aside.
In a large skillet, sauté onions and crushed garlic with 1/2 the olive oil until golden brown; add raisins and 3 teaspoons Persian spices; stir to mix and turn off heat. Mix rice, beans and onions mixture in skillet (if large enough) or in a large bowl. Set aside.
Spread the potatoes evenly on the bottom, and spatula by spatula add the rice mixture. Every few layers, add a few dates and one of the garlic cloves. Repeat, arranging mixture in the shape of a pyramid. Poke three holes in the pyramid. Mix melted butter with dissolved saffron, and pour over rice.
Place a clean tea towel or paper towel over the lid and cover firmly to prevent steam from escaping. Cook 10 minutes over medium heat, and 60 minutes over a low heat. Remove from heat and place the pot in an inch of water for 10 seconds. Remove pot from water and set aside for 5 minutes without removing the lid.
Open rice and remove a few spoons of the saffron rice and set aside for garnishing. Gently taking one spatula full of rice at a time, place it in a platter without disturbing the crust at the bottom. Once all the rice has been removed, detach the potato crust (tahdig) with a wooden spoon, and place around rice. Sprinkle the saffron rice, and roasted almonds on top.
The almonds can be prepared while the rice is cooking. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and add 1/4 teaspoon of saffron. Gently roast 1 cup of slivered almonds until golden. Set aside. Serve with meat dishes, yogurt side dishes, pickles, and salads of your choice.