Hunkar Pilavi – Pilaf With Lamb, Pistachios and Black Currants

The other day, I decided to try a recipe from a book by Ozge Samanci and Sharon Croxford. If any of you guys remember, that is the book my husband bought for me on my birthday. It’s called XIX. Yuzyil Istanbul Mutfagi which translates into “19th Century Istanbul Cuisine”. I ended up playing around with the amounts and the ingredients, but still this recipe is inspired by the above-mentioned book.

Ingredients:

3.5 cups of water

300 g (around a cup) of boneless lamb meat, cut into walnut-size cubes

100 g of clarified butter (regular butter would be fine too)

A handful of pistachio nuts, shells removed

1/2 teaspoon of blackpepper

1/2 teaspoon of allspice

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of cardamom seeds, hulled and ground

A dash of powdered clove

40 g (a handful) of blackcurrants

2 cups of rice, wash well and drain

2 level teaspoons of salt

Bring the water to boil and add in the meat pieces and boil for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, remove any froth with a slotted spoon.  Remove the meat pieces with the slotted spoon as well. Do not discard the broth, keep it aside for the following steps.

In a deep non-stick pan (with a lid) melt the butter and roast the meat  on medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, until it turns brownish.

Add in pistachios, then the spices and roast for another 30 seconds.

Follow by adding the black currants and boiled water (broth) and again bring to boil. Add the drained rice into boiling water, salt, stir 1 or 2 times.

Cover, lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the rice absorbs all of the water and forms a flat surface with around a dozen of small holes on it. Remove from the heat.

Wrap the pan -with the lid still on- with a large piece of cotton tea towel, let it rest on the kitchen counter for about 30-45 minutes.

Stir gently with a wooden spatula before serving. It may be served as a meal on itself, may follow a vegetable soup and can be accompanied by a fresh green salad and yogurt for a well-balanced delicious meal.

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