Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Perde Pilavi


PERDE PILAVI


I first encountered perde pilavi at a Kurdish restaurant in Istanbul September 2010

 This was it.....


 ...and then it was opened…..




It was accompanied by Ayran – a frothy kind of buttermilk…
...not dissimilar to Indian Lassi




 and followed by fresh pomegranate


  from this stall





 When I returned to London,  I searched the internet for recipes for perde pilaf and I decided to make my own version.  I found a recipe by Chef Musa Dagdeviren which I adapted

This was my first attempt in October 2010

In Istanbul the shape of the mould in which the pilaf was cooked was a cross between a pudding basin and a flowerpot. I really needed a deeper dish than the one I used.  This is what my first attempt looked like!









 ......but when it was opened it looked and tasted much like the one I had eaten in Istanbul



 I call that a result!
  

Here is my recipe…..



Perde Pilaf (Rotherhithe style)
(Pilaf "veiled" in a Pastry Crust)
 Serves 4
6 sheets of filo pastry*
8 chicken thighs
1 onion
1 carrot
1 stick of celery
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt
250g Arborio, risotto or paella rice (short grain rice)
100g  butter for frying rice/nuts
2 tablespoons toasted flaked almonds
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 tablespoon raisins or sultanas
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped dried apricots
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground sumac**
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
10 finely chopped mint leaves (optional)
3 finely chopped spring onions (white parts only)
2 tablespoons blanched almond halves
100g melted butter for brushing filo pastry
 
 
Put chicken, onions, carrots, celery, and lemon juice into a large pot. Cover with cold water, season to taste, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through, (20-25 minutes). Transfer chicken to a plate to cool. Remove and discard skin and bones. Shred chicken, stir in 1 teaspoon of ground sumac and set aside. Strain remaining stock in which chicken has been cooked and set aside (make up liquid to 800mls with hot water if necessary).
 
Wash rice, soak in lightly salted water for 20 minutes then drain. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flaked almonds and pine nuts and cook gently whilst stirring until golden (about 5 minutes). Add rice and cook until opalescent (about 10 minutes). Stir in chicken, 800mls stock, sultanas and apricots and season with salt to taste. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has been absorbed and rice is softened but not fully cooked (about 20 minutes). Remove saucepan from heat and leave to rest, covered for 10 minutes. Stir in oregano, allspice, pepper, (mint) and chopped spring onions and set aside. 
 
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease bottom and sides of a deep ovenproof dish or basin with butter. Arrange blanched almonds around the bottom and sides of pot, round side outwards (you may need more butter to stick them).  Take 6 sheets of filo pastry, brush one with melted butter and line dish (buttered side upwards), ensuring it fits touching the inside of the dish leaving sufficient overhang to cover. Continue lining dish with remaining sheets of filo, each brushed with melted butter, pressing lining firmly against the almonds.
Transfer filling to lined dish and gently pull edges of filo pastry over filling to cover completely (use extra buttered filo to cover any gaps). Bake pilaf, covered with a baking sheet, for 30 minutes. Uncover pilaf and continue baking until golden (about 30 minutes). Leave to rest for 5–10 minutes, then invert pilaf onto a plate. Serve warm.

We tried it again and, with Sylvi’s help, created a vegetarian version and used pudding basins this time.  It was also a great success at a dinner party in November,
  
One chicken, one vegetarian pilaf



We added a few more almonds to the recipe

 ……the chicken and the vegetarian versions were both delicious!



 Here is our vegetarian recipe…..



Perde Pilaf (Vegetarian option)

6 sheets of filo pastry*
800mls good vegetable stock
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt
250g arborio/risotto/paella rice (short grain rice)
100g butter for frying rice/nuts
Mixture of dried fruit, nuts and seeds according to taste - the following is a suggestion:
            2 tablespoons toasted flaked almonds
            1 tablespoon pine nuts
            1 tablespoon raisins or sultanas
            2 tablespoon coarsely chopped dried apricots 
            2 tablespoon coarsely chopped walnuts
            1 tablespoon sunflower or pumpkin seeds
Chopped vegetables – the following is a suggestion:
1 finely chopped stick of celery,
1 finely chopped medium carrot
½ finely chopped red pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground allspice 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
10 finely chopped mint leaves (optional)
3 finely chopped spring onions (white parts only )
2 tablespoons blanched almond halves to line dish
100g melted butter for brushing filo pastry
 
Wash rice, soak in lightly salted water for 20 minutes then drain.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Gently fry chopped carrot and celery to soften. Add flaked almonds and pine nuts and cook gently whilst stirring until golden (about 5 minutes). Add rice and cook until opalescent (about 10 minutes). Add 800mls vegetable stock and stir in remaining dried fruit and nuts and season with salt to taste. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has been absorbed and rice is softened but not fully cooked (about 20 minutes). Remove saucepan from heat and leave to rest, covered for 10 minutes. Stir in oregano, allspice, pepper, (mint) and chopped spring onions and set aside. 

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease bottom and sides of a deep ovenproof dish or basin with butter. Arrange blanched almonds around the bottom and sides of pot, round side outwards (you may need more butter to stick them).  Take 6 sheets of filo pastry, brush one with melted butter and line dish (buttered side upwards), ensuring it fits touching the inside of the dish leaving sufficient overhang to cover. Continue lining dish with remaining sheets of filo, each brushed with melted butter, pressing lining firmly against the almonds.
Transfer filling to lined dish and gently pull edges of filo pastry over filling to cover completely (use extra buttered filo to cover any gaps). Bake pilaf, covered with a baking sheet for 30 minutes. Uncover pilaf and continue baking until golden (about 30 minutes). Leave to rest for 5–10 minutes, then invert pilaf onto a plate. Serve warm.

* Filo - I used readymade fresh filo from my local supermarket.  If you have a local specialist deli you can use Yufka (Turkish)  Phyllo (Greek) or Bric (Tunisian) and follow the instructions on the packet.
** Sumac or Sumak is a spice commonly used in Turkish, Kurdish, Arab and Iranian cuisine.  The powdered form is usually available in Turkish grocers/delicatessens. The powder is obtained from the fruits of a particular species of Rhus plant, which are ground into a deep-red or purple powder which is used to add a lemony taste to salads or meat. In Arab cuisine, it is used as a garnish on meze dishes such as hummus and is added to salads in the Levant.  In Iranian, Turkish and Kurdish cuisine, sumac is added to rice or kebab.

John Austin
December 2010
revised December 2013




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