Rice-Filled Oranges Have Appeal to the Taste

I've seen shoppers pass up jumbo navel oranges for fear they'll find the fruit as dry as the peel. It's a hazard to be sure, but the rewards of happening onto the sweetest, juiciest oranges of the year are well worth the risk.

You can maximize the chance for such a find by feeling for fruit that's resisting its skin. It's not infallible, but one rule of thumb: Dense peel equals dry yield.

If you can resist eating them straight out of hand for snacks, try using jumbo oranges as receptacles for stuffings such as this one.

RICE-FILLED ORANGES

1/2 cup uncooked basmati or long-grain white rice

1 tablespoon butter

1 medium red onion, chopped

1/2 cup uncooked wild rice

3/4 cup vegetable broth

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter or tahini

3/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons paprika

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced, optional

1 1/2 cups garbanzo beans, cooked

1/3 cup raisins

4 jumbo navel oranges, halved

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

2 tablespoons chopped green onions

4 whole cilantro leaves

Prepare basmati rice according to package directions.

Melt butter in medium saucepan. Saute onion until tender. Add wild rice and stir to coat with butter. Add vegetable broth and bring to boil. Cover and simmer on low heat until cooked, about 45 minutes.

Combine peanut butter, sour cream, cumin, paprika and cilantro in blender or food processor. Blend thoroughly. Toss together basmati rice, wild rice, peanut butter blend, garbanzo beans and raisins in large mixing bowl.

Prepare oranges for stuffing by slicing off rounded ends so each half stands squarely on plate. Using paring knife, cut out fruit and toss into rice mixture.

Once fruit has been removed, cut away as much white portion of peel as possible, leaving shell intact. Set orange shells on serving dish and fill with rice mixture. Garnish each with sesame seeds, green onions and cilantro leaves. Makes 4 servings.

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