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Posts Tagged ‘Pilaf’

Monkfish & saffron pilaf

The traditional fish used for this dish from Central Asia is sturgeon, which we don’t see so often in Dublin, so we substituted monkfish to very good effect. Don’t be shy with the pepper as this really informs the character of the dish providing a warm and distinctive flavour. We were really excited by the flavours here and have made this a few times now as we enjoy it a lot.

Wine Suggestion: Black pepper has it’s own umami-rich tannins which for some people means that it won’t work with wine very well. What you need to do, though, is work with this and use either a red with appropriate tannins or spices, or a white with pepper characteristics too. We chose a rich, dry F.X. Pichler Grüner Veltliner Loibner Loibenberg which we picked up from our friend Gerard Maguire in Glasthule. A stunning wine that stood up magnificently to the bold pepper flavours; a lighter wine would have felt short and inadequate.

Fish & Saffron Pilaf – serves 4

  • 275g basmati rice
  • 4 onions (1 halved and 3 thinly sliced)
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a small bunch of flatleaf parsley
  • 4 sturgeon, monkfish or halibut fillets
  • 4 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 carrots, sliced into matchsticks
  • a small handful of dill
  • 1 tsp dill seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • large pinch of saffron strands, soaked in 3 tbsp water
  • 120g sour cream
  • juice of 1 lemon

Put the rice into a large bowl, cover with water and leave to soak.

Bring 1 litre of water to the boil in a large pan and add the halved onion, crushed peppercorns, bay leaf and parsley stalks (keep the leaves aside for now). Season the water well with salt and gently lower in the fish fillets. Cook at a very gentle simmer until just opaque, about 10 minutes depending on how thick your fillets are. Remove the fish with a slotted spoon and set aside. Strain the cooking liquid and reserve. Set the pan aside for using again later.

Heat a second large cooking pot for cooking the rice. Heat the sesame oil until almost smoking, then add the onions and carrots. Stir-fry until starting to soften. Drain the rice and add to the pot, smoothing it down with the back of a spoon. Pour over the fish broth until it covers the rice by about 1cm and add plenty of salt. Bring to the boil and cook on a high heat until the broth has boiled off. Poke a few steam holes in the rice with the end of a spoon to help it along. Cover with a lid or tight-fitting layer of foil and remove from the heat. Leave to steam for 20 minutes by which time the rice will be cooked through.

Chop the parsley and dill and add to the empty fish pan. Add the dill seeds (if using), ground black pepper, saffron and its soaking liquid and season with salt. Stir in the soured cream and set over a low heat to warm through. Carefully return the fish fillets to the pan to warm through before serving.

Turn the rice out onto a large platter and squeeze over the lemon. Spoon the fish and creamy sauce over the top.

(Original recipe from Samarkand by Caroline Eden & Eleanor Ford, Kyle Books, 2016.)

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Chicken, date & lentil pilaf with saffron butter

This tasted luxurious and refreshing with the saffron butter and orange, top notch treatment for your leftover roast chicken!

Wine Suggestion: This called for an Alsace Pinot Gris, well more specifically the Bott-Geyl Pinot d’Alsace “Metiss” which is actually a blend of all the Pinot’s you can think of plus Pinot Noir to form a layered and textured wine with lovely freshness and hints of spice that brought out the saffron and orange flavours. Bott-Geyl are a brilliant, biodynamic producer and I think each vintage they build upon the past and deliver even more. This bottle we had lying in our cellar, so they age nicely for a few years, if you can resist, but don’t worry, they taste just as good fresh and young.

Chicken, date & lentil brown rice pilaf with saffron butter – serves 6

  • 15g unsalted butter, plus an additional 30g for the saffron butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 300g brown basmati rice, washed until the water runs clear
  • 700ml chicken stock
  • 12 dates, pitted and sliced thinly, lengthways
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange and juice of ½
  • 200g Puy lentils, rinsed
  • good squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 350g cooked chicken, torn in to pieces
  • 25g chopped, unsalted pistachios or toasted flaked almonds
  • 4 tbsp roughly chopped coriander leaves
  • generous pinch of saffron strands
  • 300g Greek yoghurt

Heat the 15g of butter in a heavy-based saucepan and sauté the onion until soft and lightly coloured. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another couple of minutes. Add the rice and stir until well coated with the butter and starting to toast. Add the chicken stock, dates, and orange zest and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and cook for about 30 minutes by which time the stock will have become absorbed. If it starts to look dry add a little boiling water.

Meanwhile, cook the lentils in lots of boiling water until tender. They can take between 15-30 minutes so keep checking to ensure they don’t turn to mush. When cooked, drain and rinse in hot water and add to the rice. Fork through, season with salt and pepper and a good squeeze of lemon juice.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and quickly reheat the cooked chicken, then season. Gently fork through the rice and lentils along with the nuts, coriander and orange juice. Taste again for seasoning.

Quickly make the saffron butter by melting the 30g butter in a pan, add the saffron and stir so the butter takes on the colour.

Put the rice on a serving platter, spoon on some yoghurt,  pour on the saffron butter and serve.

(Original recipe from A Bird in the Hand by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2015.)

 

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This dish was divine.  The moist chicken pieces perfectly match the pilaf with the whole combination epitomising Turkish cuisine – sitting comfortably on the European / Middle East divide. Try to find the sumac as it gives the dish an authentic sharp lemony tang.

Wine Suggestion: Look for a good quality Albariño or Godello from Spain that has seen a small amount of oak for structure. These will provide a good balance of citrus/zestiness, medium body and tangy minerality to complement the chicken and sumac.

Sautéed Chicken with Tomato Pilfaf – to serve 4

  • 4 chicken fillets, breast or thigh, cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 35g butter
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • lemon quarters or sumac to garnish

FOR THE TOMATO PILAF 

  • 300g basmati rice
  • 500g ripe tomatoes, peeled
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 75g butter, cut into small cubes

Make the pilaf first. Pour cold water over the rice and leave to soak in a bowl for a few minutes, then strain and rinse under cold water.

Quarter the tomatoes, remove the core, then liquefy in a food processor. Add enough water to the tomato juice to make it up to 650ml. Pour into a pan, add the crumbled stock cube, the sugar and some salt and pepper and bring to the boil.

Add the rice and stir well. Simmer, covered, over a low heat, for 18-20 minutes or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Don’t be tempted to stir it during this time but you can add a bit more water if it looks dry. Fold in the butter. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

While the rice is cooking, heat the oil and butter in a frying pan and sauté the chicken for 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned, turning once. Sprinkle the chicken with the parsley and serve with lemon quarters or sprinkle with sumac, along with the rice.

(Original recipe from Claudia Roden’s Arabesque, Penguin 2005.)

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Chorizo Pilaf

This is another successful low-calorie dish as it fills you up and is dead simple to make. We’re getting near the end of this diet we promise!

Chorizo pilaf – to serve 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 250g cooking chorizo, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 250g basmati rice
  • 600ml stock
  • 1 lemon, zest peeled off in thick strips, plus wedges to serve
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • handful parsley, chopped

Heat the oil in a large shallow pan with a lid. Add the onion and cook for 5-8 minutes until soft and golden. Push to the side of the pan and add the chorizo. Cook until lightly browned and the oils have started to release into the pan.

Stir in the garlic and paprika, then add the tomatoes. Bubble over a medium heat for 5 minutes, then add the rice, stock, lemon zest and bay leaves. Stir well and bring to the boil, then put the lid on and cook over a very low heat for 12 minutes.

Turn off the heat and leave to sit for a further 10-15 minutes. Stir through the parsley and serve with the lemon wedges.

Wine Suggestion: Look for a spicy Spanish red, like a Jumilla or a Montsant, as they tend to be good value. They tend to be a bit richer and full-bodied but their inherent juiciness from good producers and ripe, juicy tannins should provide an excellent match for the flavoursome chorizo, paprika and lemon flavours in this dish.

(Original recipe by Lizzie Harris in BBC Good Food Magazine, June 2012)

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There is something so comforting about chicken and rice. The butter and gentle spices  lift the otherwise bland background – a really simple but impressive dish.

Golden Chicken Pilaf – to serve 4

  • 50g butter
  • 4 skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 cardamom pods, lightly bruised
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 500g chicken stock mixed with a large pinch of saffron (from a cube is fine)
  • 300g basmati rice
  • a handful of roughly chopped coriander

Heat half the butter in a large wide pan with a lid. Brown the chicken in batches and set aside. Add the rest of the butter then tip in the onions and cook really slowly until tender and golden brown (around 10 minutes).

Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the cinnamon, cardamom pods and cloves and cook for a minute. Add the chicken stock and chicken pieces, pour in the rice and stir well.

Cover tightly (if the lid isn’t tight, put a sheet of foil underneath) and cook on a really low heat for another 15-20 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Scatter the coriander over before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive, August 2007)

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We were so enamoured by the Keralan Prawns two nights ago we looked for more lighter Indian dishes and found these in our newest cookbook: “I love Curry” by Anjum Anand. We admire Anjum’s style as she makes traditional dishes lighter, but never loses flavour or authenticity; these are no exception.

As with all Indian dishes (and any other that we cook when we have the time) we like to prep the ingredients before we start cooking. It really helps in this case; the recipes aren’t difficult but there are many elements and sometimes quick additions with the spices. We have little bowls to gather each bit together which makes it easy.

Our other suggestion is to blanch the vegetables for the Curry, then prepare the rice. As the rice simmers you can then prepare the rest of the curry.

Creamy almond vegetable curry – serves 3-4

For the vegetables:

  • 125g potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes  – we used new ones which held their shape well
  • 60g carrots, peeled and sliced into half moons
  • 70g broccoli cut into small florets
  • 60g mangetout
  • a large handful of peas – frozen are perfect

For the curry:

  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil plus 1 tsp
  • 60g blanched almonds
  • 6 cloves
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 15g fresh root ginger, peeled weight, grated to a paste
  • 4 fat cloves of garlic, grated to a paste
  • a generous tsp of ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 4 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • salt to taste
  • 6 tbsp single cream
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and add the potatoes. After 5 minutes add the carrots and cook for another 5-10 minutes until cooked. Scoop out the potatoes and carrots and add the broccoli and then 3 minutes later the mangetout and peas. After a minute drain and set aside.

Heat 1 tsp of oil in a small pan and fry the almonds until nice and golden. Crush straight away in a pestle and mortar to a fine powder.

Heat the rest of the oil in a large non-stick saucepan and add the cloves, cardamom and caraway.

After 20 seconds add the onion until starting to turn golden at the edges.

Scrape in the ginger and garlic pastes and saute gently for 1-2 minutes until the garlic is just golden.

Add the ground spices and yoghurt and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the oil separates out.

Add 250ml of water and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 10-12 minutes.

Add the blanched vegetables, salt, cream, tomatoes and crushed almonds. Cook for a few minutes until it all comes together.

Check the seasoning and serve with Indian bread or the pilaf below.

Aromatic rice pilaf – serves 4

  • 220g basmati rice, rinsed
  • 2 good tbsp of ghee (we used 1 tbsp of butter and 2tbsp of vegetable oil instead)
  • 1 good tsp cumin seeds
  • 10cm cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp of turmeric
  • salt to taste

Tip the rice into a large bowl, cover with water, and leave to soak. (If you’re cooking the curry then prep and blanch the veg while the rice is soaking).

Heat the ghee or alternative in a saucepan, add the cumin, cinnamon, bay leaf, cardamom pods and cloves and sizzle for 10-15 seconds. Then add the onion and cook until turning gold at the edges.

Drain the rice and add to the saucepan with turmeric and salt. Cook for 1 minute, stirring.

Add 400ml of water, then taste the water and adjust for salt.

Bring to the boil, cover and reduce the heat to the lowest it will go. Cook undisturbed for about 12 minutes. Turn off the heat and serve when your’re ready. Don’t take the lid off before then!

Wine Suggestion: A dry Riesling. We had a Grosset, Polish Hill 2007 from the Clare Valley. We’ve tasted this a few times and been underwhelmed but this one was a bit older and it really comes into its own with age. So if you have a recent vintage stick it in the cellar for a few years.

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