It can be boiled or steamed, with small and round or long, thin grain, and it surely is one of the most predominant ingredients in either western and eastern cuisines. So versatile to form compact breaded balls, yet again light and airy, sometimes crispy. This week’s dish is a manifesto of Turkish cuisine’s rice dishes, Sehriyeli Pilav, also known as Pilaf with Orzo.
In Turkish, pilaf means “lump of boiled rice”, although pilaf does not alway refer to dishes made with rice but also with other grains. As a matter of fact we often hear the word bulgur associated to pilaf: bulgur is a type of rice made from gluten-free wheat. Cous cous and cracked wheat can also make pilaf.
Born as a ceremonial dish, pilaf used to be served in Ottoman cerimonies with soups, dolma, meat, vegetables and sweets. A Turkish tradition is to serve a dish of pilaf, called sözkesen, at the end of the meal to indicate the meal completion.
Whether it is served with vegetables, seafood, meatballs, pistachios or dried fruit, pilaf is made with rice soaked in water, drained and fired in oil, water and salt. After the cooking it needs to rest for about 20 minutes, and then accompanied by meat, poultry, vegetables, or orzo. While the condiment is what determines the flavor of the dish, a good pilaf must have a good quality rice, which should not absorb too much water and the grains should not stick together.
Sehriyeli Pilav is a great source of protein to complete your meal, you can prepare it for a succulent Sunday meal or serve it as a complete, nutrient dinner on a weekly night. And if you make a little too much, don’t worry, it’ll taste even more flavorful the day after!
2/3 cup orzo
1/2 cup long-grain white rice
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 carrots 1/4 inch dice
2 ribs of celery 1/4 inch dice
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 cup water
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh italian parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted real butter
1/4 teaspoon salt or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper or to taste
1 small zucchini if desired, 1/4 inch dice (1 1/4 cups)
1/4 cup slivered almonds toasted
Chop the onions, carrots, celery and garlic, parsley and zucchini if desired.
Heat the oil and butter in the skillet over medium heat, then saute the orzo, stirring it constantly until it is golden brown about one minute. Add the prepared vegetables (except the parsley and zucchini) and add the salt and pepper. Stir until the onion is lightly browned, then add the rice, saute and stir until coated with oil and butter.
Add the broth and the water and bring to a boil, lower the heat to low and cook covered, until liquid is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Avoid removing the lid and letting the steam escape. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the zucchini, and let it stand 5 minutes. Zucchini will steam. Then stir in the parsley and serve sprinkled with toasted almonds. Enjoy!
Recipe from http://www.justapinch.com
Image © Fénot