A lovely pilaf

Frankly, the colder, darker and wetter weather has conspired to reduce my gardening interest and exploits. The beanstalk appears to be actually creating multiple beans at once (huzzah!), and the peas are shooting up cheerily, but apart from herbs that continue to party (thank you basil and mint!), and my need to harvest our peanuts (hopefully this weekend, photos and post to follow!), there is more going on in my kitchen than my garden, and I know that you all can’t wait too long without an update!!

An economic and time-saving tip from me, that you’ve probably noticed already in terms of my recipe suggestions – always make more of a meal than you need, so you can use it again!! I am also trying to make a Sunday soup for lunches during the week, and a Sunday night meal that can be used for a Monday night meal – nothing more relaxing than not having to cook every night, and knowing that you’ve got good healthy food available!! This recipe below even exceeded quantity expectations and powered on for Tuesday’s lunch as well, so even better!!

I also love a good one-pot wonder (more of them will follow as winter continues), as you can do the cleaning up while you wait for it to cook, then you can relax and watch Masterchef and assorted crime shows in peace 🙂

I am in no way an expert on pilaf, and this recipe may distress foodies who make it far more authentically, but it’s flavourful, full of veggies, healthy and easy, so all big ticks in my book!! I love the sweetness of the currants with the savouryness of everything else. It originally came from a Taste.com recipe, but I’ve amped up the veggie quotient and enjoy it much more. And also, inexplicably, the original recipe suggests you roast the veggies, then bake the pilaf, then combine, when really, you could probably do both at once, as they cook for a similar time – we haven’t tried that yet, cos we only realise it after having completed the recipe (d’oh!), but I’m sure it would work out well, so let me know if you try it! So, you can probably do Step 2 before Step 1, and then Step 3 combines both.

I use a big casserole dish that can go on the stove and in the oven, so it is a two pan meal, one for roasting veggies, one for everything else!

Beef Pilaf
Serves 6-8ish, depending on how hungry you are!

Pilafy goodness

Pilafy goodness

250g punnet cherry tomatoes
1 eggplant, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon mild curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
400g lean beef mince
1 cup SunRice Basmati Rice, well rinsed
2 1/2 cups reduced-salt chicken stock
1/4 cup currants
3 green onions, thinly sliced
A handful of baby spinach
Natural yogurt, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini on tray. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons oil and season with pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until tomatoes collapse.
2. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a large, heavy-based casserole over medium-high heat. Add curry powder, cumin, cinnamon and mince. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in rice.
3. Stir in stock and bring to the boil. Cover and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. (Can combine with Step 1).
4. Stir in tomatoes, currants, green onions and baby spinach. Cover and stand for 5 minutes.
5. Spoon into bowls. Serve with natural yogurt dotted on top, and enjoy!


Pilaf!And yes, these photos are taken at work, I often forget to photograph when we eat for dinner, so you get to see my lovely work lunch space, ie my desk!

Pilaf, with yogurt added prior to eating!

Pilaf, with yogurt added prior to eating!

I also think this would freeze quite well, as it is quite moist, and can lend itself to whatever other veggies you feel like roasting together!



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