Rice pilaff with serrano ham and broad beans

It’s a lot of effort skinning the broad beans, but for this recipe it is worth it. Delicious and unusual.

175 g basmati rice, rinsed and drained
70 g serrano or parma ham, cut into thin strips
175 g podded broad beans
10 g butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
280 ml chicken or ham stock
1/2 tsp saffron
1/2 clove garlic, crushed
pinch dried chili flakes
1 dsp snipped chives
grated rind of half a small lemon
1 tbsp dry sherry or white vermouth

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Blanch the broad beans in boiling water for 1 minute, refresh in cold water, them squeeze each one out of its skin. Reserve.

Melt the butter and half the oil in a medium-sized casserole and fry the onion until lightly coloured. Add the ham and cook for another 5 minutes. Tip in the rice and fennel seeds and stir to coat the rice with oil. Add stock, saffron, garlic, chili, and the beans. Bring to the boil, cover, and cook in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven; don’t peek, but leave covered for 10 minutes to finish cooking in its own steam.

Remove the lid, put back on a low heat, and stir gently with a fork to separate the grains. Stir in the chives, lemon rind, and the remaining olive oil. Turn the heat up briefly, pour in the sherry or vermouth, and wait until you hear it sizzling. Serve immediately.

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