- 1 cup basmati rice, well rinsed
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 cup melted butter
- 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp. ground fennel (not seeds)
- 1 medium waxy potato (thin-skinned variety like Yukon Gold)
- 1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced. Chop and reserve the feathery leaves for garnish.
- 3 scallions, sliced crosswise in ¼ inch slices.
- 1 tsp. finely chopped garlic
- broiled shrimp
Prepare the rice
- Fill a medium pot with lightly salted water, and bring to boil.
- Stir in rice, return to boil and reduce heat so water is at a lively simmer.
- Cook undisturbed about 5 minutes; drain, and set aside. Rice will be only partly done.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl, combine 1 tbsp. butter and 1 tbsp. olive oil with the ground fennel.
- Add the chopped garlic.
- Peel potatoes, and cut crosswise into thin slices.
- Put remaining butter and oil in large heavy-bottom pot.
- Add fennel, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 minutes.
- Transfer fennel to a plate, and set aside.
Construct the stuck-pot
- Add ¼ cup water and butter-oil-ground fennel-garlic mixture to pot.
- Sprinkle the sliced scallions on bottom of pot and then carefully cover the scallions with a layer of potato slices.
- Add half the rice, then fennel, then remaining rice.
- Wrap a clean kitchen towel around lid of pot so it completely covers inside of lid; gather corners on top so they do not fall anywhere near stove.
- Place lid on pot, sealing tightly.
- Turn heat to medium-high.
- When you hear water spattering – in about 5 minutes – turn heat down very low.
- Cook undisturbed about 45 minutes. If the potatoes do not smell toasty turn the heat to high for about 4 or 5 minutes and let it sizzle and brown. Don’t let it burn.
- Remove from heat, and let sit 5 minutes more.
- Carefully remove lid and cloth, and turn pot upside down over a platter.
- If potatoes come out in a single crust, terrific. If not, use a spatula to scrape pieces out of pan and onto rice.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle with the reserved feathery fennel leaves and serve with broiled shrimp.