Persian style Turkey and Rice Pilaff with Native Herbs

This is such a lovely dish we created to use all the turkey that was left, that we cooked at Christmas. Like most people we cooked way more than could be eaten on the day because we love to keep eating it over a few days - whether it's simply on toast with lashings of butter or used in a dish like this. It is so good! It's the sort of recipe you'd expect from Yotam Ottolenghi - it's a fusion of Middle Eastern and what we think of as Persian spices, but of course we have subverted this to use our amazing Australian native herbs instead.

We've used turkey in this recipe but roast chicken is just as delicious and if it's vegetarian try incorporating Chunks of sweet potato . Whichever way , we can assure you that this is delicious!

1 teaspoon Anisata 

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon Mountain pepper

1/4 teaspoon Pepperberries (if you don't have this, substitute cracked black pepper and a little Sumac)

2 teaspoons of either Native Mint (River Mint or one of the prostantheras - we prefer rotundifolia) or Lemon Myrtle ( or a mix)

2-3 tablespoons virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, finely diced

1 cup basmati rice ( please don't use short grain -it will be gluggy)

3 cups of Chicken (or vegetable ) stock 

Wild Herb Salt to taste

3 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped

3 cups of shredded or finely chopped turkey (or chicken or sweet potato) meat

1 pomegranate - remove the arils and reserve approx 1/4 cup for garnish.

Pomegranate syrup (buy from your local Mediterranean shop )

3 cups Greek Style Yoghurt (we are just loving Coles brand Greek Style Yoghurt)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Finely chopped mint and coriander to garnish

1/4 cup finally chopped pistachios (optional)

Heat oven to 150C


Mix the dry herbs/spices together and divide into two.

Heat the oil in a deep saucepan ( we like to use a large cast iron casserole pot for this) and sauté the onion until tender and translucent. Add the rice to the pan and half the herb/spice mix and toss/stir until the rice and herbs/spices are well toasted (but not too coloured)

Add 2 12 cups of the chicken stock and bring to the boil and then reduce immediately to  a gentle simmer. Put the lid on and cook until the rice is tender - approx 10 minutes - and all the stock should be absorbed by the rice.

Heat a little more oil in a pan and add half the crushed garlic.

Add the spices, pomegranate arils and the turkey and stir together until the turkey is coated with the spices and is hot. Remove pan from the heat.

In a casserole dish (the same one if using a cast iron version that already has the rice in it), spread the rice evenly in the dish and drizzle generously with the Pomegranate Syrup and douse with the remaining half sup of stock.

Season the yoghurt with the remaining garlic and lemon juice and the remaining dried herbs.

Spread the yoghurt over the turkey and finally sprinkle the remaining Pomegranate arils, the pistachios and the chopped fresh herbs, finishing with a drizzle of Pomegranate Syrup. We often sprinkle with a little extra lemon Myrtle or River Mint too.

Cook in the preheated oven , on the middle shelf , for 20 minutes or until hot and cooked through. You can drizzle a little Pomegranate Syrup over the top before serving if you wish.

Serve as is - it has all you need! Enjoy :)



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