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.
- 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
- Soak the currants in warm water for about 15 minutes. Then drain and set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Afiyet Olsun.