In my opinion “plov” (“плов”) is one of the most delicious dishes that ever came out from southerns republics of USSR. You can watch an authentic way to prepare plov here. While being extremely tasty authentic plov is not very healthy dish. We’d like to offer you an alternative way to prepare this iconic dish. Our approach uses several modern techniques that will preserve all the amazing flavors and will make this dish more healthier.
- Beef or Lamb – 2lb
- Long grain rice – 2lb
- Olive oil – 300ml
- Garlic – 2 heads
- Carrots – 2lbs
- Red hot pepper – 2 peppers
- Cumin seeds – 1 tbsp
- Coriander seeds – 1 tsp
- Salt (as needed)
- Barberis – 1tsp
- Red wine –
- Tomato paste -1/2 cup
- Saffron – 1 pinch
- Heavy whipping cream – 1/2 cups
- Prepare braising liquid by mixing wine, tomato paste and half of spices. Line a sauce pan with several layers of foil, lay out meat and pour braising liquid over it. Cover the meat with several layers of foil and roll the edges forming a sealed pouch. Transfer pan to the oven and braise it for 3 hours at 270F. Note: authentically lamb is being used for this dish, but based on your preference you can opt-out for beef. I’d also suggest to use cuts with bones (e.g. shanks, shoulders etc) because after braising you can use bones and connective tissues to prepare broth. Talk to your local butcher – e.g. my “go to” butcher (i.e. “Springfield Butcher“) usually have very good deal on lamb necks. Lamb necks are great for plov, because neck muscle meat is very tender and there are plenty of bones and connective tissues for broth.
- Once 3 hours is up take the pan out of the oven, cut corner of the foil pouch and drain the liquid into a container. Cool the drained liquid in refrigerator until it forms a solid fat “puck” at the top (or you can use a fancy fat separator). Save the fat “puck” – it contains a lot of awesome flavors and we’ll use it later on in the recipe.
- Open the foil pouch and separate meat from the bones and connective tissues. Keep meat in refrigerator until ready to use.
- Put bones and connective tissues into a large pot, add 1 onion (cut in half). Cover with water, bring to boil and simmer at least for 3 hours (ideally up to 12). Time can be significantly reduced with use of pressure cooker.
- Put “kazan” on the stove (note: you can use cast iron dutch oven or wok as an alternative). Heat up quarter of the fat “puck” (or 3-4 tbsp of olive oil). Slice the onions and caramelize them until golden color. Add julienn cut carrots and keep on high heat without mixing for 3 minutes. Add 2nd half of spices (i.e. cumin, coriander, pepper). Reduce the heat and cook until carrots are tender (10-15 mins). If you don’t like very spicy food try using chipotle peppers instead of red hot peppers – they have milder (not “I’ll punch you in the face”) heat and nice smoky taste.
- Add braising liquid that was drained from the foil pouch. Vegetables need to be covered with liquid by 1/3 of an inch (1cm). Use broth if more liquid is needed. Add salt to taste (note: if you are using spice mixes make sure that you season with salt after you add the spice mix, because some of them contain salt). Add saffron pre-soaked in heavy cream (note: pre-soaking of saffron in heavy cream helps to extract flavor). Cover kazan with a lid, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Your “zirvak” is ready! It freezes pretty well too, so you can make more than you need and freeze extra to save time in the future.
- Cut braised meat into small cubes and add to “zirva”. Bury two unpeeled heads of garlic in the “zirvak” as well.
- Thoroughly wash the rice in cold water. Lay rice on top of “zirvak” in an even layer. Don’t mix it! Add hot broth so it would cover rice by 1 inch (3cm).
- Raise the heat to the max – the intent is to get oil from the bottom of kazan to the top as quickly as possible to “oil” the rice and prevent grains from sticking to each other. Once rice absorbs the water reduce the heat to the medium and cover the kazan with a lid. Cook until rice is fully cooked (up to 30 mins based on type of the rice) and you can’t see the liquid if poke a hole through the rice with a utensil.