Pomegranate Baked Rice and Onions With Dill

Pomegranate Baked Rice and Onions With Dill

This tangy-sweet casserole is adapted from Shimi Aaron, an Israeli chef also known for his elaborate chocolate babkas. In this colorful dish, a layer of short-grain rice studded with pine nuts and dill is bathed in pomegranate juice and honey, and topped with shingles of red and yellow onions. When it emerges from the oven, the onions glisten like jewels, and the rice is fragrant, tender and a little sticky. Serve this as a meatless main course with a crisp salad, or as scene-stealing side dish alongside a simple roast chicken or fish.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 6 persons



  1. Step 1

    Heat oven to 400 degrees and lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or large, shallow gratin dish.
  2. Step 2

    Coarsely chop one of the yellow onions. Cut the remaining yellow and red onions from root to stem into ¾-inch-thick wedges and set aside.
  3. Step 3

    In a large skillet over medium-high heat, combine chopped yellow onion, 2 cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, partly covered, until onions are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain onions, saving the onion broth. (You should have about ¾ to 1 cup broth.) Transfer onions to a bowl, and set aside broth and onions.
  4. Step 4

    In the same skillet (no need to clean it), melt 6 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add pine nuts and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in shallots and cook until tender, 4 to 6 minutes longer.
  5. Step 5

    Add rice and cooked chopped onion. Stir in baharat, 1 teaspoon salt and 3 tablespoons onion broth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until rice softens slightly and absorbs most of the liquid, about 15 minutes. If the mixture starts to stick to the pan, add another tablespoon or two of onion broth.
  6. Step 6

    Stir in dill. Spoon rice mixture into the prepared baking dish in an even layer. Shingle onion wedges on top, alternating between red and yellow onions.
  7. Step 7

    In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together pomegranate juice, olive oil, honey, pepper, remaining ¾ teaspoon salt and ½ cup onion broth. Pour over the onions and rice.
  8. Step 8

    Cover pan with foil and bake for 50 minutes. Uncover pan and continue to bake until the rice is tender and onions are soft, glossy and sticky, about 35 to 45 minutes longer. Serve with yogurt, if you like, and more dill.