Mouthwatering Pilaf By Yotam Ottolenghi
Originally from Jerusalem, Yotam Ottolenghi is a famous London-based restaurateur and food writer. Yotam runs the famed Nopi and Ottolenghi restaurants and delis. This master chef is also an author of three bestselling books; and his fourth title, Plenty More, was published in September 2014. Here is a fine recipe from this renowned chef -
Beef, apricot and almond pilaf
- 250g basmati rice
- 120g ghee (or clarified butter)
- 1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 medium green peppers, pith and seeds removed, cut into 0.5cm strips
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly grated
- 600g beef sirloin, fat removed and cut into 8cm-long x 1.5cm-thick strips
- 75g dried apricots, roughly chopped, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes
- 50g currants
- 50g flaked almonds
- ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp whole black peppercorns
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- 10 cloves
- Rind of 1 orange shaved off in long, thin strips, plus 2 tbsp orange juice
How to Prepare
First you have to put the rice in a bowl, add cold water to cover, stir in a teaspoon and a half of salt, set aside for an hour, then drain and rinse.
Fill a medium pan with water, add a teaspoon and a half of salt, and bring to a boil. Add the rice, boil for four minutes, then drain.
Put a large frying pan on a medium-high heat and add two tablespoons of ghee. Once melted, add the onions, peppers and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, fry for 12 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the onion is caramelised and the pepper soft. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add another tablespoon of ghee and the carrot, cook for two minutes, stirring, just to soften, then remove from the pan and set aside.
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Turn up the heat under the frying pan and add a teaspoon of ghee. Once smoking hot, add a third of the beef and stir-fry for 90 seconds, to brown. Transfer to a plate, and repeat with the remaining meat.
Put the drained apricots in a small saucepan with three tablespoons of ghee, the currants, almonds, spices, orange rind and a quarter-teaspoon of salt. Fry on a medium heat for four to five minutes, stirring, until the nuts are golden-brown. Remove from the heat and add the orange juice.
With the remaining tablespoon of ghee, brush the inside of a 20cm ovenproof casserole dish (for which you have a lid). Spread half the carrots on the base, top with a third of the rice, and top that with half the onion mix and half the beef, spreading out each layer evenly. Repeat the layers, finishing with the last third of the rice. Pour over any beef juices, then make five little indentations in the top layer of rice. Push the fruit and nut mix into these, cover with a clean tea towel and then the lid (make sure the towel doesn’t stick out, otherwise it may catch light). Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the rice is light, fluffy and crisp around the edges. The dish is ready to serve.
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