Uzbekistan is traditionally made with lamb, but my husband bought goat and put it in the freezer for so long that he didn’t remember what it was. Rather than argue with him, I made his plov with goat. It can also be made with beef if you don’t want lamb or goat.
This dish originated in Uzbekistan, but is enjoyed in other countries in the area, including Russia. It is made every Sunday at the Bazaar. In fact, my husband says, every stall makes it’s own version of plov and it is sort of like a chili or BBQ cookoff, competing to see who makes it best. You do.
- 4 cups Basmati rice
- 4 large carrots, cut into julienne
- 4 large onions, cut into thin half-moons
- 2 pounds lamb or goat (cut into 1 to 1 1/2-inch pieces)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 8 cups boiling water
- 3 heaping tablespoons coarse salt
- 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons ground coriander
- 3 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1/2 tablespoon hot Hungarian paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric or a pinch of saffron for color
- 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon
- 1/4 cup dried barberries or cranberries (optional)
- 1 large head of garlic, unpeeled
Rinse the rice several times in warm water to remove excess starch that can cause the rice to clump together. Set aside. In a saucepan, bring the water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil. Cover and keep simmering.
In a large heavy pot, or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium high heat almost to the smoking point. Brown the meat, in batches, on all sides. Remove and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions and cook until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the carrots. Season with salt, half the pepper, and half the paprika. Return the meat and season with some of the coriander and cumin. Stir to combine.
Spread the rice evenly over the meat mixture. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to make a small hole through the rice to pour the water into. You only want to pour enough water to cover the rice by 1/2-inch. Save the water in case you need to add more later. Cover the pot tightly and let the rice steam for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, open the pot and sprinkle with the remaining seasonings. Cover and keep steaming.
Cut just a little off the top of the garlic and press it, cut side down, into the rice about 3/4 of the way down. Steam another 10 minutes. Check periodically to see if the rice is done. Do not let the pot dry out. If you need to add water, make a few more holes with the handle of the wooden spoon and pour a little water in there.
Once the rice is done, stir, bringing the bottom ingredients to the top. Serve.