Mountain Rice Blend Lamb and Vegetable Pilaf

In cold and rainy winter days comfort food is back on the agenda.  I want my comfort food not only tasty, but healthy, too. Here comes rice, lamb and vegetable pilaf with another new ingredient for me – mountain rice blend. I wanted something simple and easy, with meat, vegetables and rice cooked together in one pot.

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It took me one hour to make this dish with 10 min preparation time, 35-40 min cooking and 10 min resting. The result was a nutritionally balanced, healthy, delicious and comforting Saturday late lunch. We both liked mountain blend of brown, red and black rice with lamb lean blackstrap meat and spicy vegetables.

Ingredients: 3-4 servings

  • 3 organic lamb backstraps  (250g), any cuts of lamb can be used with cooking time adjustments
  • 1 cup Sunrice Mountain blend of brown, red and black rice  (150g)
  • 1 leek
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 2-3 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bird’s eye chilli (whole or deseeded, depending on your taste)
  • table spoon of dry barberries
  • pinch of fennel seeds
  • pinch of cumin seeds
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 3 table spoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 1 1/2 cup of boiling water (300ml)

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Preparation:

The dish is cooked in one pan, adding ingredients one after another with occasional stirring.

  • wash and rinse the rice 3 times
  • heat olive oil in a shallow casserole pan (cast iron pans are the best, but any casserole pan will do the job)
  • add fennel and cumin seeds, sliced garlic and chilli
  • add sliced onion and leek, season with salt and black pepper
  • add diced lamb
  • add diced tomatoes
  • add carrots and capsicum
  • add barberries
  • stir the vegetables
  • add rice blend
  • mix it with vegetables and cook for 2-3 min
  • add boiling water, stir, add salt to adjust seasoning, cover with a lid and cook for 35 min

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  •  by the end of the cooking time all the liquid has to be absorbed and the bottom of the pan has to be nearly dry
  • cover the pan with a tea towel, put the lid on top and rest the pilaf for 10 min, tea towel will absorb extra moisture and prevent it going back to the pan

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The pilaf was moist, but not wet, had a subtle balance of sweet and sour taste coming from carrots and capsicum for sweetness, and  tomatoes and barberries for the sour taste. Instructions on the box for the absorption method recommended 2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice and cooking time of 35 min. I did not allow for the liquid from the vegetables, and decided at one stage to cook with an open lid to evaporate liquid in order not to end up with wet pilaf. That is why in the ingredients list I reduced the volume of the water added to have a ratio of 1 cup of mountain rice blend to 1.5 cup of boiling water. In that case, the pan has to be covered with a lid during the whole cooking time.

I found this dish very easy to make, the list of ingredients was simple and the process did not include any additional preparations. It was not necessary to use any commercial or home-made stock to end up with intense flavours. I also see limitless possibilities to use any type and cut of meat, as well as vegetarian options with any choices of vegetables or even pulses added to the mix.

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