Saturday, 22 October 2016

If You Make One Thing This Week...Perdeli Pilav...




I know that I am embarrassingly behind with my recipe posts, but as you know, life happens!

The recipe that I am posting today is a dish that I had eaten in Istanbul a few years ago. It's name, Perdeli Pilav, literally means rice in a veil or curtain. I assume that this is due to the 'veil' of pastry covering the rice! Just this week, I discovered that a similar dish is also cooked in many parts of the Levant.
I have been intending to make this for a while, but did not get around to it...Until today! I always thought that the various elements would be just too time consuming. Surprisingly, it didn't take much longer than any other rice dish! Simply prepare it in the order suggested and it will be easy!
So here goes...



Pastry:
3 1/2 cups cake flour
3 ml baking powder
5 ml salt
225 grams unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs, beaten

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.
Combine the butter and eggs and add to the flour make a biscuit like dough. Add  a splash of milk if the dough does not come together easily. Cover bowl and set this aside.

Onion Confit:
4 large onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
A pinch of saffron

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the onions and saffron. Cover the pan and cook gently, on a very low heat, till onions are soft. About 1/2 hour.

Chicken:
4 large chicken breasts
2 bay leaves
1 stick cinnamon
2 carrots, cut into large chunks
1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, halved
A generous grinding of black pepper
Salt to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon sumac
1 tablespoon Pul Biber (Aleppo Pepper)

Place chicken, bay leaves, cinnamon, carrots, onion, garlic, pepper and salt in a deep saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil.reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove chicken pieces from the broth, and set aside to cool slightly. Strain the broth and discard the veggies. Set broth aside. Once chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it up and add all the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust salt. Set this aside.

Rice:
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup flaked almond
1/4 cup barberries*, optional
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups Turkish rice, washed and well drained
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon allspice powder
Salt and pepper
A generous pinch of saffron
Reserved broth

Heat butter and olive oil in a saucepan. Add the nuts and cherries. Fry for a minute, then add the rice. Fry until well coated int the butter and oil. Add the remaining ingredients and cover with the reserved broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer till done. (About 20 minutes) all the broth should be absorbed by then.

To assemble:

A handful of blanched almonds, split

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Spray 4 x 12 cm springform tins with non-stick cooking spray.** Arrange the almonds in the tins.  Divide the dough for the pastry into 4 equal portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll out  1 portion of the dough thinly. Ensure that it is large enough to come up the sides of the tin, as well as cover the top. Gently ease the pastry into the tin and press into the base and up the sides. Place a portion of the onion confit over the pastry, then a portion of the chicken.*** Lastly top with a portion of the rice. Press down gently on the rice. You tin should be almost full by now. Flap the overhanging pastry over, and pinch to seal well. Brush with some olive oil, and pierce with a knife in 3 places. Do not pierce all the way to the bottom! Repeat with the remaining pastry and filling. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30- 35 minutes until golden brown and pastry is
cooked through. When done, remove from tins and serve at once.

* Barberries are known as Zereshk in Persian. you could use dried sour cherries instead, or even some golden sultanas.
** You could use a large 23 cm springform tin if preferred. Adjust cooking time appropriately.
*** Next time, I will add some sliced and fried aubergine to this.

Pickled rose onions:
2 medium red onions, sliced into half moons
150 ml white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
A splash of rose water

Combine all ingredients. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes. Stir well then sprinkle with some sliced pistachios and garnish with rose petals.

Cacik:
5 baby cucumbers, finely diced
1 tablespoon finely shredded fresh mint
Salt
1 cup Greek yoghurt

Combine all together. Stir well and refrigerate till required.