Turkish Sidetky_pilaf

Classic Rice Pilaf
(Serves 8-10)

You've probably had many pilafs over the years, but this one's a winner—cinnamon, currants and a little tomato paste. Then add dill.

1 tsp. salt
5 C water (warm)
2 1/2 C long-grained white rice
4 T olive oil
2 medium onions (chopped)
2 C beef stock or broth (hot)
2 T pine nuts (toasted)
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice berries, or 1/4 tsp. ground
2 T currants or raisins
1 tsp. sugar
1 T tomato paste
pepper to taste
3 T fresh dill (chopped), or 1 1/2 T dried

Soak Rice: in a large bowl, pour 5 C warm water and add 1 tsp. salt, stirring to dissolve. Let stand till rice is cool. Drain well.

Cook Pilaf: Sauté onions in a large pan till soft, add soaked rice, and sauté till rice is transparent. Add beef broth and remaining ingredients, except dill. Cover and simmer gently 20-25 till rice is tender. (If you need more moisture, add a tablespoon of water or broth). Mix in dill and serve immediately.

| See more Turkish recipes |

Tips & Glossary

You may not have all the ingredients used in Turkish cooking on your spice shelf, but you'll find them at Middle-East food stores. To avoid frustration, make a list of items you need before trying out the recipes.

Cumin: an aromatic, kin to parsley and carrots; an important ingredient in chili powder. Used especially in Indian curries, as well as in Mid-Eastern, Mexican, and Asian dishes. It has an earthy, peppery flavor.

Filo: aka phyllo, paper-thin sheets of raw, unleavened flour dough. Buy frozen in any grocery store and follow directions on package for thawing. When working with one sheet, keep others covered with a damp towel to prevent drying out.

Peeled Tomatoes: choose 1 of 2 methods: 1) hold tomatoes one-at-a-time over gas flame till skin bubbles and becomes charred; 2) drop all tomatoes into pot of boiling water for 45 seconds. After either method, run tomatoes under running water; skins will slip off easily.

Roasted peppers: buy them prepared. Or make your own: place peppers under a broiler, or hold over a gas flame, till skin chars and blisters. Place them in a closed paper bag for 15-20 minutes (to steam them). When cool enough to handle, the skins slip off under running water.

Rosewater: distilled from rose petals and used to flavor Mid-Eastern and Asian cooking. You can make your own—but why? Purchase it at Mid-East or Asian or food stores.

Saffron: the most expensive spice in the world, from the crocus plant, and cultivated in Iran and Spain. Along with its unusual taste, it adds a deep rich yellow color to food. Use a strand or two at a time and soak in warm water before using.

Skewers: use metal or wooden skewers for kabobs. If wooden, be sure to soak them for 30 minutes before using to prevent them from catching on fire.


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