Pilaf is apparently a recipe that came from Uzbekistan. Since it was part of the Soviet Union way back when, Russia has a version of this dish, too. Hence, the boyfriend wanted to cook this for dinner one day. So we did.
The important part of the recipe was cooking the rice long enough so that it didn’t stick to anything, while still having absorbed the majority of the tastes of the rest of the dish. A deciding factor of that is choosing a long-grain rice due to its less adhesive nature and lower amounts of rice flavor.
The Uzbekistanian version uses cumin as its main spice, whereas the Russian version uses dried barberries and coriander seeds. Since I couldn’t find barberries anywhere, I went with the Uzbekistanian spices. The final product ended up tasting more like Indian food than anything. At least it was more authentic. Recipe can be edited with the same amount of barberries and coriander seeds as the amount of cumin for the Russian version.
4 Tbsp butter
2 lbs beef stew meat
1 large onion
4 large carrots
2 cups of long-grain rice
2 heads of garlic
1/2 tablespoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of black peppercorns
(1) Heat butter on medium-high in a cast iron pan and add beef when the fat begins to bubble. Saute beef until it is no longer pink, about 8 minutes.
(2) Meanwhile, slice onions and add to beef when it is fully browned. Saute another 10 minutes, until onion is fully cooked.
(3) While the onions and beef are cooking, cut carrots into small 1-inch matchsticks. Add to the beef and onions and saute until carrots are wilted, about 12 minutes.
(4) While carrots are cooking, soak the rice in water.
(5) Slice off garlic root and separate the garlic cloves. Further chopping is unnecessary. Add the garlic once the carrots are finished cooking, sprinkle the cumin and peppercorns throughout the pan, and add boiling water until it covers the entire contents of the pan. Cover, turn heat to low, and simmer for 1 hour.
(6) Drain rice, add to the top of the pan contents without stirring, and add additional boiling water until it covers up to 1/2-inch above the rice. Turn heat on high and allow to cook, uncovered, until no visible bubbling water can be seen.
(7) Once all the water is evaporated, cover for 30 minutes.
(8) Uncover and stir to mix the rice into the rest of the ingredients. Serve warm!