Rice and Vegetable Dome

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2 ounces butter or oil of choice
1 1/2 cups short grain rice
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
pinch of saffron
salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
pinch of white pepper
2 ounces pine nuts
coarse salt
2 eggplants
3 medium potatoes
1 pound canned tomatoes
vegetable oil for frying

Peel the eggplant, or leave unpeeled then slice the eggplant lengthwise into 1/3 inch thick slices. Put the eggplants in a colander and sprinkle with coarse salt. Leave for 30 minutes. Wash the rice over running water and leave in a colander to drain. Bring the vegetable stock to a boil. Put the saffron in hot stock to dilute. Heat a little of butter in a saucepan and stir-fry the rice for 3 minutes. Add salt, white pepper and diluted saffron, with the liquid, to the rice and mix.

Add the boiling stock to the rice. Cover the rice with a lid and cook over low heat for 15 minutes until the rice is tender and moist. Mix the remaining butter into the rice and adjust the seasonings to taste. Set aside to cool. In the meantime, dice the tomatoes. Season to taste with sugar, salt and pepper. Simmer them for 30 minutes or until they thicken. Wash and dry the eggplants.

Fry the eggplants over medium-high heat until golden brown.

Remove them; drain on paper towels and set aside. Preheat the oven to 340 degrees F.

Peel and slice the potatoes into 1/4 inch thick rounds.

Brush a dome-shaped bowl with some oil. Divide the rice into 3 portions. Put one portion of rice in the bottom of the bowl.

Spread the tomatoes over the rice. Add another layer of rice, pressing it in place. Next, arrange the eggplants over the rice.

Put another layer of rice over the eggplants. The last portion should be the potatoes, filling the bowl to the top. Brush the potatoes with vegetables oil. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil or a lid. Be sure that the bowl is well sealed. Bake for 3 hours and then remove the bowl. Run a flexible knife around the inside of the bowl to loosen the edges. Place a serving dish over the top.

Turn the bowl very gently onto the dish and gently remove the bowl, trying not to break the dome.



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