Etli Pilav, Rice with Chunks of Meat (lamb or beef) and Onion, by Ozlem Warren
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And now to my recipe ….
One of the dishes we made at our Aegean style Turkish cooking class at Hanimeli, near Sirince was this very delicious & impressive Etli Pilav – Rice cooked with chunks of meat and onions. It is common to incorporate meat and vegetables into the rice and flavors change in different regions, with the use of different spices. It has been very interesting to see how Etli Pilav is made in the Aegean region.
We greatly enjoyed this delicately flavored Etli Pilav, the Aegean style; the marriage of sauteed onions and meat was so delicious cooked with rice.
The cooking of rice is regarded as an art (and traditionally an important test for the bride-to-be to master before marriage!); the grains must be soft but still have a bite to them.
Serves: 4 – 6
Preparation time : 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35-40 minutes
• 350gr/12oz/1 ¾ cups long grain or wholegrain basmati rice, rinsed and drained
• 450gr/1 lb. beef or lamb, cut in small chunks
• 2 medium onions, quartered and sliced thinly
• 30ml/2 tablespoon butter
• 1lt/4 cups of the meat’s cooking liquid reserved
• 15ml/1 tablespoon olive oil
• Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Non-stick pan works best for this dish
Place the meat in a heavy pan, pour in the water (enough to cover the meat and some more) and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes or until tender at low to medium heat. Season with salt and ground black pepper and make sure to reserve and keep the cooking liquid.
In a separate pan (non-stick pan works best), stir in 1 tbsp. butter and olive oil and sauté the onions for 2-3 minutes. Then take out the cooked meat from the other pan and spread them evenly over the onions. Over the meat, stir in and spread the rinsed rice. Add the cooking liquid, the remaining 1 tbsp. butter and salt to taste. Cover and cook on low heat for about 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked and the liquid absorbed.
Once cooked, turned the heat off and place a paper towel over the pan and cover with the lid. Rest the rice for about 10 minutes, this will help all the moisture to be absorbed and rice to settle.
Before serving, turn the rice upside down on a wide serving tray, onions and the meat will appear as layers at the top, looking like a delicious savory cake. The delicious flavors of the cooked meat and onion blend in with the rice and make it very flavorsome.
Season with ground black pepper and serve hot. This dish can be a meal on its own, or you can complement it with eggplants cooked in olive oil with vegetables, Zeytinyagli Patlican or how about with refreshing Purslane with garlic yoghurt, Yogurtlu Semizotu?
© Ozlem Warren