Posted by Sara on Dec - 9 - 2013 under Main Dishes, Slide

2 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into chunks
1/3 cup sunflower oil
4 medium carrots, grated
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
3 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
2 cups cups water plus 4 cups for rice
3 cups brown rice
1 head of garlic with the top sliced off
Cooking time: 3 hours Serving: 6 people

Russians have made this a staple in their cuisine, and it seems to be somewhat of a cult food. However, Uzbeks and Tajiks consider themselves to be the “fathers” of pilaf (plov) and it probably originated somewhere in Persia (now Iran).  Pilaf is one of those dishes that you must try in order to understand it’s significance. There is no wrong or right version of this delectable dish, each region with it’s own special way of making it. I have sampled homemade versions with chickpeas or potatoes or dried fruits, but they all have about the same process. I chose the safe road with my version. For the record, I am not much of a meat eater, but there are some recipes you just can’t change.


Cut the lamb into bite size pieces. Heat the sunflower oil in a cast iron pan (that has a lid) until it is very hot. Salt the lamb, add it to the oil and sear until golden brown . Stir in the onions and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Stir in the carrots, spices and 2 cups of water. Simmer until the meat is tender, about 1 hour. Don’t take shortcuts with simmering! While your meat/vegetable mixture is simmering, rinse your rice several times to prevent it from getting gummy. I usually do this about 4 times. Add the rice to the meat/vegetable mixture.  Top with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium low and cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Put the head of garlic sliced side down into the pilaf, cover and simmer for another 10-15 minutes until all the water is absorbed.

That wasn’t so hard!



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