Friday, October 16, 2009

TURKISH PILAF with liver, pine nuts and raisins

I thought I would share with you my all time favorite recipe for Turkish pilaf. Of course it is something I have learned to cook from my mother-in-law. I love it sooo much that one has to pull me away from the bowl of this rice in order for me not to finish it all by myself. It is has an explosion of flavors. It is so reach that it can be a meal in itself.
This pilaf is cooked with liver, pine nuts and little raisins. I know I know what some of you may think about liver. But hey liver is cut in such tiny pieces here that I find this dish to be the perfect way of introducing the flavor of liver to your taste buds. After all you can put as little or as much liver as you wish or just totally omit it. It won't be the same of course but the rice will not disappoint you.
First let me start by telling you that I use chicken liver here. You can find it in almost any grocery store in the chicken aisle. But of course the organic liver of a grass feed chicken from the place like Whole Foods would be the best option . It would be sold in a plastic container and is very very cheap. We are talking about 1-2 dollars per container here. So it won't break your bank. All you need to do at home is to rinse liver and cut it in tiny tiny pieces.
Another thing you might want to do is to soak the rice in boiling hot water before you start cooking. What it does is it quickens the cooking time fore you and you will get nice grains at the end that are not sticking to each other.
So here is the recipe

2 cups of short grain rice
3 cups of chicken stock
2 Tbsp. or more of liver, cut into tiny pieces
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp oil
a handful of pine nuts
a handful of small raisins (*see Note)
salt and pepper to taste

If you have time start by covering your rice with boiling water. Mix it and leave for about half an hour or up to a few hours if needed. If not skip this step and go straight to next.
In your pan melt butter and oil . Add liver and pine nuts and sautee for a couple of minutes. Add chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Now add rice ( you want to drain your rice if you soaked it before). Adjust salt and pepper to your liking depending on what kind of broth you are using.
Now lower the heat to simmering and put the cover on your pan. In 5 minute add raisins and give your pilaf a mix. Put the cover back on. Check it in 5 minutes again. If the rice is almost done and you still have too much liquid in your pan increase the heat to evaporate it. Otherwise cook for about 5 more minutes or until rice is ready.

* Note. In Turkey they have these very small raisins that are perfect for cooking with. I am very sure you can find them in Middle Eastern specialty shops. Otherwise just try chopping California raisins into smaller bites.

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