Turkish Spinach and Pistachio Pilaf

This was an absolute triumph. I just love the earthy flavours running through this dish. It’s such a simple yet delicious way to bring the humble rice to a new level. It’s so tasty I didn’t want it to end. An absolute delicious combination of flavours. One of the best things I’ve cooked in a while.

INGREDIENTS: (Serves 2-3)
40g unsalted butter
1/2 onion (finely chopped)
1 garlic clove (chopped)
200g fresh spinach leaves (shredded)
125g basmati rice
250ml hot chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
80g unsalted shelled pistachios (roughly chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh dill (chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley (chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh mint (chopped)

Soak the rice in cold water for 15 minutes, then drain in a fine sieve until the water runs clear. Set aside.

Melt half the butter in a saucepan over a moderate heat then gently fry the onion and garlic for 4 minutes until translucent and soft. Turn up the heat and add the spinach and stir fry for 2-3 minutes until wilted. Add the rice and stir for 1 minute then add the hot chicken stock, salt and pepper and simmer for 30 seconds. Turn down the heat to very low, cover the pan and cook, undisturbed for 12 minutes.

Just before the 12 minutes is up, heat the remaining butter in a small frying pan until just bubbling. Add the pistachios and stir briefly until the butter foams around the nuts. Cook for 20-30 seconds then remove from the heat. Open the rice and scatter the nuts and butter over the surface then add the chopped herbs without stirring. Return the lid and cook for a further 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir the rice together briefly, then place a clean tea towel over the pan and return the lid. Leave aside for 10 minutes then fluff up the rice with a fork and spoon into a serving platter.

This is great with anything – I love it with lamb or chicken but it works perfectly with fish and seafood.

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