Rice Pilaf with Meat and Nuts

A classic Armenian rice recipe, was traditionally made for special occasions such as weddings. Garnished with pine nuts, pistachios, almonds and raisins is fit for any family gathering or event. Cinnamon, is the key spice used for this rice recipe, and once it is cooked, the smell of the spices permeates the entire house. Normally, it is served along roasted chicken and a tomato, cucumber and mint salad.

Skill level: Intermediate
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Rice Pilaf with Meat and Nuts
Serves 8
Traditional "Armenian" Recipe
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
45 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups parboiled and enriched rice (see note #1 below)
  2. 6 cups water (see note #2 below)
  3. 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  4. 3 - 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  5. 1/2 pound ground beef (see note #3 below)
  6. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
  8. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  9. 1/2 teaspoon red pepper
  10. 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon ( if using water for broth )
  11. Pine Nuts, Almonds, Pistachios (see note #4 below)
  12. Raisins (optional)
  13. 1 tablespoon cooking oil for the nuts
Instructions
  1. In a small frying pan add 1 tablespoon cooking oil and gently fry the nuts and raisins. Set aside for garnish.
  2. In a 5 quart pan, and on medium high heat, add the cooking oil and ground beef. Fry until beef is fully cooked stirring constantly.
  3. Add the rice and stir fry for a few minutes until the rice is fully incorporated.
  4. Add the butter, cinnamon, salt, black and red pepper and stir for another minute or two.
  5. Add the water and bouillon, or chicken stock.
  6. Raise the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil.
  7. Lower the heat and cook until all the water or broth has been absorbed. You can test this by inserting a wooden spatula to check if all the liquid in the pan has been used up.
  8. Empty the rice on a serving platter and garnish with the roasted nuts.
  9. You can make the rice earlier in the day and keep it in the pan, then warm it up when you're ready to serve.
♣ Notes
  1. 1. Use the original parboiled rice, not the "Ready" or "Instant" rice.
  2. 2. Just like my other rice recipes, you can use water and chicken broth together or just water with chicken bouillon. Chicken bouillon brings an extra level of flavoring to any dish. Remember to adjust the salt and not use as much if you're using chicken broth because it already contains some salt.
  3. 3. I ask the butcher in the meat department to grind a piece of chuck or cross rib roast for me. This way you know what type of meat you are using and eating. The pre packed beef packages contain all kinds of beef cuts. You will get more than you need for this recipe. Store the rest of the beef in a ziploc bag and freeze for later use.
  4. 4. The amount and variety of nuts you use is totally up to you. But the addition does make it tastier.
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