Thursday, 31 January 2008

Variations on a Theme

I'm rather getting into this rice pilaf thing at the moment. It makes a change to be cooking it on the hob, rather than just bunging it in the rice machine. Although I had no particular plans for it, I bought some minced beef in the butcher's the other day; you can make lots of different dishes with it and I can always knock up a Savoury Mince Crumble if I'm really stuck for a meal idea. After some thought, however, I came round to this, which is an on-the-hoof revision of another mince dish I occasionally make.

Spiced Mince Pilaf

Obviously you can substitute another minced meat for the beef, if you prefer. Lamb would probably be my first choice, though I have a feeling that turkey would work excellently here too.

garlic-infused oil
1 onion, diced
450g minced beef (and see above)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
250g basmati rice
4 tbsp split red lentils
200g frozen peas

Heat some oil in a large pan that has a lid. Soften the onion, then brown the mince. Tip in the spices and 150ml water. Bring this to the boil, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan with your wooden spoon or whatever. Stir in the rice, lentils and peas, then pour in a further 450ml water. Cover the pan and bring back to the boil. Reduce the heat, then simmer for 10-15 minutes until the rice is cooked and the liquid absorbed.

This makes a meal on its own, to be honest, but I added a tomato salad and some pitta bread, together with sour cream for dolloping over the pilaf. No pudding tonight, as we had apple crumble and custard yesterday (with no leftovers, pah!) and I don't seem to have gotten rpound to much baking lately. I really must do something about that.

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