Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Broad bean and dill pilaf

Serves 4

This pilaf also works well with peas. If your individual broad beans are longer than 1.5cm, I'd suggest to peel and blanch them, otherwise they will be unpleasantly tough. But should you be rummaging through your freezer and come across a frost crusted bag of baby beans, this recipe is just up your street.

75g unsalted butter
6 spring onions thinly sliced (with all the green leaves)
a pinch of ground allspice
150g basmati rice, soaked as below
500g podded broad beans or 1.5kg in pods
1 medium bunch fresh dill, roughly chopped
½ small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
sea salt and black pepper

To serve
200g homemade or Greek yoghurt, thinned with 2 tblsp milk and seasoned with ½ crushed garlic clove or a pinch of allspice

To soak the basmati rice, put it in a bowl and cover with cold water. Rub the rice with your fingertips until the water becomes cloudy with starch. Strain off the cloudy water and repeat the process 3 times (or until the water runs clear). Finally, pour off the water, replace with warm water and stir in 1 tsp salt. The rice is then soaked in the fridge for at least 3 hours. The salt stops the rice from breaking up, and the soaking reduces the cooking time by half.

Over a medium heat melt the butter in a saucepan and fry the spring onion and allspice for 10 minutes until sweet. Stir the drained rice into the saucepan and coat with the butter. Add the broad beans and two-thirds of the dill and parsley and stir in well. Cover the rice by 5mm water and season with salt and pepper.

Lay some damp greaseproof paper on the water and bring to the boil over a medium to high heat. When it comes to the boil, put a lid on the pan and cook quite fast for 5 minutes. Now turn down the heat to medium to low for another 5 minutes before it is ready to serve.

Sprinkle the rest of the dill and parsley on each serving. We serve this rice with seasoned yoghurt as here, but it is also good with lamb kibbeh cooked in yoghurt, or roasted or grilled fish.