Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Turkish Spiced Pilaf (Ic Pilav)

I read recently that one of the earliest references to Pilaf is in the histories of Alexander the Great when describing Bactrian hospitality (Bactria was an ancient Persian province).

It's certainly a very old dish and there are lots of different regional variations (pilav in the Middle East, plov in Central Asia and pilau in the Indian subcontinent). The rice in the dish should be fluffy and not sticky, the idea being that the grains should remain separate. The Turkish recipe that I have for Spiced Pilaf suggests that Baldo Rice is the best to use. Baldo Rice is a thick, short grained rice that keeps its shape at high cooking temperatures. You can buy it online in the UK but I use Basmati Rice as a replacement and that works very well.
Spiced Pilaf (Ic Pilav)
Serves 10

4 cups Baldo Rice (alternatively use Basmati Rice)
4 tbsp pine nuts
4 tbsp currants
250g chicken (or lambs) liver
1 onion
200g butter
1 tsp ground allspice
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
5 meat stock
1 tsp sugar
1 bunch dill

Place the rice in a bowl and cover with hot water. Add the salt and stand for 30 mins. Rinse in cold water several times and drain.

Peel and dice the onion. Soak the currants in warm water until they swell, then drain. Finely chop the liver into very small pieces. Melt the butter in a pan and stir the pine nuts over the heat until lightly coloured. Add the diced onion and the liver. Add the rice and stir over the heat for a few minutes. Add the currants, pepper and allspice.

Heat the meat stock up to boiling point in a separate pan and then add to your rice mixture along with the sugar. Cover and bring to a boil over a high heat. Then cook over a low heat for 15 minutes. When the liquid has evaporated and steam holes appear in the surface of the rice, remove from the heat. Stand for 10 – 15 minutes. Chop the dill finely and sprinkle over the dish. Stir and serve.

Wine Pairing

Nick suggests a white wine such as
 Château Vrai Caillou "Les Vignes de la Garène" 
(70% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon & 10% Muscadelle)
This would be good with this pilaf as it's elegance and subtleties
will not clash with the spices.  


Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Braised Ox Liver with Mustard Mash

Thanks to our kindly butcher I ended up with some Ox Liver recently. I tend to stick with Lambs Liver and had heard that Ox Liver can be rather strong so I grilled a little piece of it to try and was surprised how good it tasted. It wasn't as strong as I find Pigs Liver and although distinctly 'livery' it reminded me slightly of pigeon breast or venison. My butcher recommended we try it braised. I used the recipe below and it was delicious! A lot of recipes suggest that you soak the liver in milk for an hour or so to make the taste milder but I didn't and the family enjoyed it.

1 lb ox liver
2 cups of milk (for soaking the liver in if you prefer)
3 tbsps flour
good pinch salt
1 large onion
juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 cups beef stock
Half a cup of sour cream

Cut the liver into strips (soak in milk for an hour if you prefer). Dust the strips of liver in the flour and sauté in hot oil until browned on all sides. Remove and set aside.

Chop the onions into rings and brown in the same pan. Remove and set aside.

Deglaze the pan with the beef stock, lemon juice and brown sugar. Add the sour cream and cook for 5 mins.

Add the strips of liver and onions and cover the pan with a lid. Cook gently for half an hour or so until the liver is tender. Be careful not to overcook as the liver will become hard.

For the Mustard Mash

2lb potatoes, peeled
3½oz butter
3 tbsp double cream
3 tbsp wholegrain mustard
Boil the potatoes until cooked and drain thoroughly. Mash with the butter and cream. Add the whole grain mustard and mix well.

Wine Pairing
Nick suggests that a young bright and full bodied red wine will 
compliment the liver  and recommends: 
Jean Baptiste Audy Cabernet Sauvignon (100% Cabernet Sauvignon)
or the Jean Baptiste Audy Cuvee 
(75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Syrah)