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Pilafs and Rice

Turkish style roast chicken with rice and currants stuffing – Ic Pilavli Firin Tavuk

My dear belated dad Orhan, absolutely loved his roast chicken, Firin Tavuk, with our traditional rice with currants (kus uzumu) stuffing, Ic Pilav. I have recreated this special recipe recently, and we greatly enjoyed it with friends. I used Jamie Oliver’s roast chicken recipe as a base and adapted to my Turkish style roast with our additions.

Towards to end of the roasting, we traditionally glaze the chicken with a mixture of tomato paste, yoghurt and olive oil; this gives a lovely colour and taste to the chicken.  The rice that we use to stuff the chicken is partially cooked – you can prep this ahead of time.

I hope you enjoy my mother’s roast chicken recipe, firin tavuk, which would appear at special family meals as well as at New Year’s Eve on our table. If you wish, you can stuff your turkey with this fragrant rice this way too. Muhammara, my mother’s walnut and red pepper paste dip, as well as zingy Shepherd’s Salad always accompanied our roast, if you like to include at your festive table – both recipes are included at my cookery table, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, as well as the Ic Pilav, Herby rice with pine nuts, currants, with addition of lamb liver (just omit lamb liver for a vegetarian option). My baked beetroot salad with pomegranate molasses also makes a lovely accompaniment to this festive dish. If you live in the USA, Canada or Mexico, there is now lower shipping rates for hardback copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table at this link.

My very best wishes to you all for the festive season, Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Turkish style roast chicken with rice and currants stuffing – Ic Pilavli Firin Tavuk
 
My dear belated dad Orhan, absolutely loved his roast chicken, Firin Tavuk, with our traditional rice with currants (kus uzumu) stuffing, Ic Pilav. I have recreated this special recipe recently, and we greatly enjoyed it with friends. I used Jamie Oliver’s roast chicken recipe as a base and adapted to my Turkish style roast with our additions. Towards to end of the roasting, we traditionally glaze the chicken with a mixture of tomato paste, yoghurt and olive oil; this gives a lovely colour and taste to the chicken. The rice that we use to stuff the chicken is partially cooked – you can prep this ahead of time.
Author:
Recipe type: Turkish style roast chicken
Cuisine: Turkish cuisine
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • For the roast chicken:
  • 1.9kg/4lb 5oz free range chicken
  • 650g/1lb 6oz carrots
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 60ml/4tbsp olive oil
  • Handful of sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary
  • For the 2nd stage chicken marinade:
  • 10ml/2tsp double concentrated tomato paste
  • 15ml/1tbsp whole milk yoghurt
  • 15ml/1tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • For the Rice pilaf with chestnuts, pine nuts and currants:
  • 170g/6oz cooked chestnuts, chopped into small bite size pieces
  • 30ml/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 15ml/1 tablespoon butter
  • 30ml/2 tablespoons currants
  • 45ml/3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 10ml/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (add a little more if you like cinnamon)
  • 350g/12oz long grain rice, rinsed and drained
  • 750ml/1¼ pints hot water (500ml hot water for partial cooking first)
  • 1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch of dill, finely chopped
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper
  • Wedges of lemon to serve
  • For the roast potatoes:
  • 1.5kg/3lb 5oz Maris Piper potatoes
  • 45ml/3tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. First prepare your fragrant rice. We will be partially cooking the rice to stuff into the chicken. Soak the currants in warm water for about 15 minutes. Then drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the butter and the olive oil in a heavy, medium size pan over a medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook for about 4-5 minutes, until softened. Stir in the currants, cinnamon and the rinsed rice, combine well for a minute. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Pour in the 500ml hot water and bring to the boil. Then lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer gently for 7- 8 minutes or until all the liquid have been absorbed. Our partially cooked rice with currants is ready. You can make your partially cooked rice a day ahead of time and keep covered in the fridge.
  3. Remove the chicken from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking and bring to the room temperature. Preheat the fan oven to 200C/400F.
  4. Wash and coarsely chop the vegetables, there is no need to peel the carrots. Break the garlic bulb into cloves and leave them unpeeled. Spread the prepared vegetables on a large bowl, drizzle 30ml/2tbsp olive oil, season with sea salt and pepper and sprigs of rosemary and thyme. Rub and combine all with the vegetables. Leave this bowl aside – to be combined with the chicken later.
  5. Place the chicken on a large roasting tray. Drizzle the chicken with 30ml/2tbsp olive oil and season well with sea salt and ground black pepper and rub all round the bird.
  6. Place half of the lemon inside the chicken’s cavity. Then carefully spoon 270g/9oz of partially cooked rice inside the chicken’s cavity. Take care not to over stuff, so the rice won’t get mushy. Insert the other half of the lemon to close chicken’s cavity. Roast for 1 hour at preheated fan oven at 200C/400F.
  7. Now is the time to prepare your roast potatoes, if you plan to have them. Make sure to get them into the oven for the last 45 minutes of cooking. Peel the potatoes and quarter the large ones and cut the medium ones in half, so they are all roughly even size. Place them on a large pot, sprinkle over salt. Cover with hot water and par boil for 7 -8 minutes. Then drain in a colander and leave to steal dry for 2 -3 minutes.
  8. After 1 hour of roasting, take the chicken out of the oven and spread your prepared vegetables around the chicken to roast together another 30 minutes.
  9. Place the potatoes into a large tray, drizzle with 45ml/3tbsp olive oil and season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Coat and combine well and roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes, timing with the roast chicken.
  10. Now prepare your Turkish style marinade to coat the chicken, for the 2nd stage of marinade; in a small bowl, combine 2 tsp tomato paste, 1tbsp olive oil and 1tbsp whole milk yoghurt, season with sea salt and black pepper, combine well. After the 1 hour 30 minutes of chicken being roasted, take the chicken tray out and brush this marinade all over the chicken. Return the chicken tray back to the oven for a further 15 minutes of roasting; by the end of this period, the vegetables around the chicken should be nicely roasted and the marinate will give a lovely colour to the chicken, as well as taste. When the chicken is cooked (to check, cut into the chicken; if the juices run clear, then the chicken is fully cooked) take the tray out of the oven and transfer the chicken to a board to rest for 10 minutes or so. Cover the chicken and roasted vegetables with foil to keep warm.
  11. While the chicken is in the oven for the final stage, finish your partially cooked festive rice. On a medium to large pot, drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil and stir in the pine nuts; stir and sauté for 2 minutes over medium heat - as they begin to turn golden, stir in the chopped chestnuts and partially cooked rice and combine well. Pour in the remaining 250ml / 9fl oz hot water over, season with salt and black pepper, combine well. Then lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer gently 5-6 minutes or until all the liquid have been absorbed. Turn off the heat; cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel and place the lid back on tightly. Leave to steam for 10 minutes. Just before serving, stir in the chopped parsley and dill and combine gently.
  12. Place your festive Ic Pilav on a large serving plate, and your roast potatoes on another serving place. Serve your Turkish style roast, Firin Tavuk, with vegetables around. Muhammara, my mother’s walnut and red pepper paste dip, as well as zingy Shepherd Salad always accompanied our roast, if you like to include at your festive table too.
 

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Rice pilaf with chestnuts, pine nuts and currants – Kestaneli Ic Pilav

This sophisticated rice pilaf dates back to the Ottoman Palace kitchens and is packed to the brim with flavour. I love the different textures and flavours this rice showcases with currants, pine nuts as well as fresh herbs. It’s been enjoyed in Istanbul, as well as in Anatolia; my mother would make it at special occasions and for the New Year’s Eve; traditionally cubed lamb liver would be added too, as I have it at my cookery book Ozlem’s Turkish Table.  You can serve this dish on its own with a slice of lemon and Turkish pickles, tursu or with the Shepherd’s salad of cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes, Coban Salata, from my cookery book Ozlem’s Turkish Table, on the side. This special herby rice also traditionally used stuffing for turkey and chicken, to celebrate New Year’s Eve at home. You can also pair with my Baked aubergine/eggplant and chicken kebab, Patlicanli Firin Tavuk, from Ozlem’s Turkish Table.

Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book, and this festive apron is available, via GB Publishing, at this link. if you like to order for a festive gift.

If you live in the US, Canada and Mexico, there is now lower rates of shipping at this link.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Rice pilaf with chestnuts, pine nuts and currants – Kestaneli Ic Pilav
 
This sophisticated rice pilaf dates back to the Ottoman Palace kitchens and is packed to the brim with flavour. I love the different textures and flavours this rice showcases with currants, pine nuts as well as fresh herbs. It’s been enjoyed in Istanbul, as well as in Anatolia; my mother would make it at special occasions and for the New Year’s Eve; traditionally cubed lamb liver would be added too, as I have it at my cookery book Ozlem’s Turkish Table. You can serve this dish on its own with a slice of lemon and Turkish pickles, tursu or with the Shepherd’s salad of cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes, Coban Salata, from my cookery book Ozlem’s Turkish Table, on the side.
Author:
Recipe type: Rice
Cuisine: Turkish cuisine
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 170g/6oz cooked chestnuts, chopped into small bite size pieces
  • 30ml/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 15ml/1 tablespoon butter
  • 30ml/2 tablespoons currants
  • 45ml/3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 10ml/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (add a little more if you like cinnamon)
  • 350g/12oz long grain rice, rinsed and drained
  • 750ml/1¼ pints hot water
  • 1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch of dill, finely chopped
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Wedges of lemon to serve
Instructions
  1. Soak the currants in warm water for about 15 minutes. Then drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the butter and the olive oil in a heavy, medium size pan over a medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook for about 4-5 minutes, until softened.
  3. Add the pine nuts and stir; as they begin to turn golden, stir in the currants, chopped cooked chestnuts, cinnamon and the rinsed rice, combine well for a minute. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Pour in the hot water and bring to the boil. Then lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer gently for 15 minutes or until all the liquid have been absorbed. Turn off the heat; cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel and place the lid back on tightly. Leave to steam for 10 minutes.
  4. Just before serving, stir in the chopped parsley and dill and combine gently. Serve with wedges of lemon by the side, Turkish pickled vegetables, Tursu or a zingy Shepherds salad.
  5. Afiyet Olsun.
 

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Wholesome Bulgur Pilaf with Freekeh, Green Beans and Red Onions

Bulgur with freekeh, green beans and red onions; Taze fasulyeli, firikli bulgur pilavi

Bulgur with freekeh, green beans and red onions; Taze fasulyeli, firikli bulgur pilavi

Firik or Freekeh is indeed super food and an ancient grain; I love its delicious, nutty taste, similar to pearl barley. I recently made this delicious bulgur pilaf with freekeh and green beans; it turned out to be a wholesome, tasty vegetarian main course for us. We enjoyed bulgur with freekeh and green beans, Taze Fasulyeli, Firikli Bulgur Pilavi, with my Cacik dip of yoghurt, cucumber and dried mint for a complete and wholesome meal. If you are observing Ramadan, this wholesome pilaf with vegetables also proves to be a healthy, easy and delicious meal option.

Freekeh or firik; a wholesome, delicious and ancient grain

Bulgur and freekeh or firik; a wholesome, delicious and ancient grain

Freekeh is used a lot at my home town Antakya, ancient Antioch, and pairs with bulgur, vegetables and meat beautifully. Firik, (as in Turkish) or Freekeh (sometimes spelled frikeh) or farik is a cereal food made from green wheat that goes through a roasting process in its production. Firik is a popular and ancient grain used Middle Eastern & Southern Turkish cuisine and also popular in Levantine, Egyptian, Arabian Peninsula and North African cuisine. Here’s some more information on freekeh and my bulgur pilaf with freekeh, eggplant (aubergine) and meat recipe if you’d like to try out.

Bulgur pilaf with freekeh, green beans and red onions; delicious with a dollop of yoghurt on top.

Bulgur pilaf with freekeh, green beans and red onions; delicious with a dollop of yoghurt on top.

Runner beans, green beans or dwarf beans would all work well in this recipe; they are delicious combined with red onions, freekeh and bulgur. Bulgur is widely available now in supermarkets and you can find freekeh in Specialty, Turkish or Middle Eastern stores. I like to serve this wholesome pilaf with Turkish red pepper flakes or chili flakes on top, accompanied by a dollop of yoghurt or with refreshing Cacik dip of yoghurt, cucumber and dried mint.

I hope you enjoy this delicious, wholesome meal, Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

5.0 from 2 reviews
Bulgur Pilaf with Freekeh, Green Beans and Red Onions
 
I hope you enjoy this delicious and wholesome bulgur with super grain freekeh or firik, combined with green beans, red onions and garlic. Runner beans, green beans or dwarf beans would all work well in this recipe; they are delicious combined with red onions, freekeh and bulgur. I like to serve this wholesome pilaf with Turkish red pepper flakes or chili flakes on top, accompanied by a dollop of yoghurt or with refreshing Cacik dip of yoghurt, cucumber and dried mint.
Author:
Recipe type: Healthy grains; bulgur and freekeh with vegetables
Cuisine: Vegetarian - Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 350gr/12oz/2 cups coarse bulgur, rinsed and drained
  • 225gr/8oz/ generous 1 cup firik or freekeh, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 300 gr/ 11 oz./ 2 cups green, runner or dwarf beans, trimmed and cut into 3 cm / 1” long pieces
  • 400 gr/ 14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes or 3 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 60 ml / 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 pints/ 5 cups of hot water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Red pepper flakes or chili flakes to serve
  • Dollop of plain yoghurt to serve
Instructions
  1. Trim the green beans and cut into 3 cm / 1” long pieces. If you are using runner beans, also slice them lengthways.
  2. Heat 3 tbsp. olive oil in a heavy pot and stir in the red onions and green, runner or dwarf beans. Stir and sauté gently for 2-3 minutes over medium to high heat.
  3. Pour in the remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil and stir in the garlic, rinsed bulgur and freekeh, combine all well with green beans and red onions.
  4. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and hot water, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to your taste. Combine well.
  5. Bring the pot to the boil. Then cover, reduce the heat and simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.
  6. Turn the heat off. Cover the pan with a clean kitchen paper towel and place the lid firmly on top (the paper towel will absorb any excess moisture). Rest the pilaf for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  7. Serve the bulgur pilaf with frekeeh and green beans hot with Turkish red pepper flakes, pul biber sprinkled over, if you like. Refreshing Cacik Dip of diced cucumbers and dried mint with yoghurt or plain yoghurt complement this bulgur & freekeh pilaf very well.
Notes
Runner beans, green beans or dwarf beans would all work well in this recipe; they are delicious combined with red onions, freekeh and bulgur. Bulgur is widely available now in supermarkets and you can find freekeh in specialty, Turkish or Middle Eastern stores.

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