Friday, January 7, 2011

Persian Food?? What's next for me??

This is on my to try list. I love lamb, and I absolutely love cinnamon in savory dishes. It imparts a warm and comforting feeling on the tongue. And the fragrance when cooking is heavenly.

Adas Polow (Persian ground lamb, lentils and rice)

•1 cup small black lentils, green lentils, or
brown lentils -- I used black
•1 cup basmati rice
•1 lb ground lamb
•olive oil
•1 onion, chopped into small pieces or thin strips
•zest of 1 lemon
•1 cup dried fruit -- I am going to use dried apricots, they recommend raisins or dates
•cardamom (ground)
•cumin (ground)
•saffron: 3/4 t dissolved in 1 cup hot water, plus 1 pinch dry
•yogurt (optional)
•flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Serves 4.

1. Soak rice and lentils separately in advance of cooking, preferably overnight. (I NEVER soak rice or lentils)

2. Cook lentils and rice separately until just barely done, about 15-20 minutes. Do not overcook. (I am cooking them together in my rice cooker.)

3. In a heavy-bottomed pot, preferably one that doesn’t stick terribly much, heat butter or oil. Add onion, lemon zest and a pinch of saffron. Cook until onion is clear and a little browned, adding some salt as you stir.

4. Add lamb, salt and pepper, and stir to break up chunks and mix the lamb with the onions well. Add some of the cumin, cardamom, cinnamon and turmeric. Let lamb brown, and then add a cup of water. Let the lamb and water cook together until the water has nearly evaporated. Remove lamb mixture and set aside.

5. Mix about half a cup of the cooked rice with a tablespoon of the saffron water, a tablespoon of olive oil, and 3 tablespoons of yogurt. Spread this mixture on the bottom of the heavy bottomed pot. Add the other ingredients in layers: a layer of lentils, then of dried fruit, then of lamb, and so forth. While adding lentil- and lamb-layers, sprinkle in more salt, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon and cardamom. Your top layer should be rice. When you have reached this layer, pour the remainder of the saffron water over the rice.

6. Cook the contents of this pot together for about 15 minutes. You can avoid stirring and intentionally get a browned layer on the bottom, and try to leave the dish in layers, or you can do what I did: let it cook in layers for a few minutes and then stir it all together. If you stir it together, add in more salt or spices if needed. I also stirred in a few tablespoons of butter and a few spoonfuls of yogurt.

Serve with yogurt and chopped parsley.


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