Kheema Biryani (Saffron Rice With Ground Lamb)
Source: Web adapted by Christine Unger
Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake 25 min.
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
3 tablespoons boiling water
2 cups uncooked long grain white rice
2 teaspoons salt
2 T cup butter with a little oil
1 cup onions -- finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 pound lean ground lamb
1/4 cup fresh coriander (cilantro) - finely chopped or 2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
Run water over the rice to get as much of the starch off as possible and drain. Meanwhile, bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Stirring constantly, pour in the rice, add 1 teaspoon of the salt and cook briskly, uncovered, over moderate heat for l0 minutes. Turn off heat and put a lid on to keep cooking til water is all absorbed.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F. Drop the saffron threads into a small bowl, pour in the boiling water and let them soak for at least 10 minutes.

Put 1 Tablespoon of the butter with a little oil over high heat in frying pan. Add the onions, cumin seeds and the remaining teaspoon of salt, stirring constantly. Fry until the onions are soft and transparent but not brown. Add the ground cumin, turmeric, and ground coriander (if you're not going to use the fresh coriander (cilantro)) stir for 1 minute longer, then add the lamb and fry until all traces of pink disappear - try to make it as lump free as possible. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the fresh coriander if you have it.

Add fennel seeds, the saffron with its liquid, and 1 Tablespoon of butter to the rice. Layer the rice, then the meat mix and then rice again in a casserole. Add the chicken stock, pouring it down the side of the casserole and cover with lid. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid in the casserole.

Note: I found this recipe on the web and now make it on a regular basis, it's a favorite comfort food. I usually make half a recipe for two of us but these are very good size helpings. It's nice served with a zippy coleslaw.