A Baked Onion and Rice Casserole for Passover and Beyond

In 2015, the Rabbinical Assembly, a world group of Conservative Jewish rabbis, revoked the longstanding prohibition of consuming kitniyot (similar to legumes, beans, rice and corn) throughout Passover. For a lot of Ashkenazi Jews, this meant a rabbinical inexperienced mild for serving the likes of rice, lentils, chickpeas, corn, beans and spices like mustard and cardamom on the Seder desk — the primary vital menu change in roughly 800 years.

For Sephardic Jews, nevertheless, it was enterprise as traditional. Having by no means banned these substances, they might all the time embody dishes like hummus, spiced lentils, braised fava beans and rice-stuffed greens on their Passover menus. Now, Ashkenazi households can take into account together with a few of them, too.

A wonderful choice comes from the Israeli chef Shimi Aaron. Mr. Aaron, a former jeweler who’s the chef of the bakery and cafe EllaMia, is extensively identified for his opulent, gold-dusted babkas, which he wouldn’t recommend serving for Passover. However his dish of candied onions, loaded with rice, dill and pine nuts, is simply as beautiful and would make a vigorous addition to any kitniyot-embracing Passover desk.

Mr. Aaron likes to make use of complicated taste mixtures to rework easy substances into one thing beautiful and surprising. Roasting onions in a shower of pomegranate juice laced with honey, dill and olive oil makes them glisten like gems, then soften in your mouth. Brief-grain rice, cooked in the identical casserole dish, turns into tender, plump and pleasingly sticky, suffused with tangy sweetness and a mix of spices.

“Persons are skeptical that it’s simply rice and onions, however that’s deceiving,” Mr. Aaron mentioned. “I adore it when meals appears easy, however then surprises you with the flavour.”

In his authentic recipe, Mr. Aaron boiled the entire, peeled onions, separated the layers into petals, then rigorously reassembled the bulbs round pine nut-speckled rice. This streamlined model retains the flavors however simplifies the shape. The rice is spooned into the underside of a baking dish, then sliced uncooked purple and yellow onions are shingled on high. It’s simply as colourful and fairly, however a lot simpler to place collectively, which is a boon for an in any other case labor-intensive vacation meal.

When he’s not making this dish for Passover, Mr. Aaron likes to supply it as a meatless first course or mild predominant course, or as a aspect dish with roasted rooster or fish. Any method you serve it, it’s sure to be essentially the most putting factor on the desk. And it tastes pretty much as good because it appears.

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