Now, off to a country I have a very hard time pronouncing; Azerbaijan. Jamie had to keep correcting my when I said ‘Azerbaijan’ or ‘Azerbaijani cuisine’ because I kept saying it wrong 😛
Over the years, Azerbaijani cuisine has been influenced by other cultures, while at the same time, staying unique and distinctive. Azerbaijan apparently has nine out of the eleven climates of the world. This results in a rich selection of food that is available to be grown. It is well known for the abundance of vegetables that are grown. Also, being on the Caspian sea, fish is a large part of the cuisine of this country. One of the most popular main course dishes is soup. Another popular dish is plov (similar to pilaf) which is a rice cooked in a seasoned broth. They have over thirty different soup recipes and over forty different plov recipes. Kebabs are also popular there, made from varying kinds of meat.
There were clearly many options of food to make from Azerbaijan, but I choose to make beef plov (partly because I had stewing meat left over from making Caribbean pepperpot stew from Anituga and Barbuda. Check that out here).
This was a very tasty dish. We both approved of it. One nice thing about it, is that this recipe makes a lot, it is filling, and it is so easy to reheat. I love any meal where we can have leftovers. Ha, since being married to Jamie (since December 2012), I have really come to realize how much guys can eat. I would often make a meal expecting that it would be enough for that meal plus leftovers, but often times, there would be no leftovers. That man can eat!
1 1/2 lbs Beef chuck or beef sirloin
1/3 cup canola oil, or extra light olive oil (not extra virgin)
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks or grated
1 tsp salt for the meat and veggies + 1 1/2 tsp salt for the rice
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
3-4 bay leaves
1 3/4 cups hot water for braising meat
3 cups long grain rice (Basmati or Jasmin rice work great!)
4 cups hot water when cooking rice
1 head of garlic
1 tsp ground coriander
Trim beef of excess fat and sinews (aka the chewy stuff), pat the meat dry with a paper towel and chop into ½” to ¾” pieces.
Preheat your dutch oven (or your large soup pot with a heavy bottom), to high heat. Once it’s hot, stir in your ⅓ cup canola oil. Once oil is hot, add chopped meat and saute uncovered 7 min over high heat until meat is browned, stirring every minute or so so it doesn’t scorch to the bottom of the pan.
Reduce heat to medium and Add chopped onion, stirring often until onion is softened (5 minutes). Stir in sliced carrots, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp cumin, 3-4 bay leaves and continue to cook over medium heat 5 minutes until carrots are softened.
Add 1¾ cups hot water, cover and simmer over medium/low heat 45 min or until meat is tender.
Meanwhile, rinse rice until water runs clear, then drain and set aside (this gets rid of the starch so you won’t end up with a sticky rice).
Spread rice over the meat and add 4 cups hot water. Sprinkle the rice with 1½ tsp salt (DO NOT STIR), bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium and Let cook uncovered until most of the water is absorbed (10 min).
Cut off the head of your garlic to expose the cloves. Put your head of garlic, cut side down into the center of the rice and sprinkle the top of the rice with 1 tsp ground coriander.
Poke 7-10 holes through the rice to allow steam to escape to the surface, reduce the heat to low then cover and cook an additional 15 minutes or until rice is cooked through. Remove the garlic head and bay leaves and stir everything gently to combine and you’re done.
Recipe courtesy of: natashaskitchen.com/2013/05/15/beef-plov-beef-rice-pilaf-recipe/
Hmm, that was a rather short post, I guess I don’t have too much to say about this dish. It was good… try it out sometime. That’s about it.
That makes 12 countries down, 183 more to go. Oh boy! If you missed my last post on Austria for which I made apple strudel, check it out here.