photo: Ayca Rodop
I made this for 15 people in Z’s water mill on a weir in Fladbury on the River Avon. The setting and the company were idyllic. It is a great feasting dish for lots of people, and does not cost too much per head for meat.
1kg long grain rice, well-rinsed with cold water
1 very large white onion, finely diced
several handfuls of blanched and skinned whole almonds, or pine nuts (or a mixture)
1 pack good quality unsalted butter (use about ¾ in total)
800g lean lamb mince
1 level tablespoon cinnamon powder
(optional handful raisins, softened by being soaked for 10 mins in warm water)
How I made it:
Rinse the rice thoroughly, refreshing the water several times. Also soak for an hour or two if you have time. In one pan, cook rice by placing in a pan and covering with water until water level is 1 inch above rice with 1/2 tablespoon of salt and a big knob of butter (like 100g). Bring to boil, boil fiercely for 2 mins, then reduce heat to medium/low and place lid on tightly until cooked and all water is gone (15-20 mins). Meanwhile, brown the lamb mince in batches and set aside, then in the same pan cook onion in a large knob of butter until very soft. Reintroduce lamb to onions and cook on a low heat until done. In a separate pan, melt a large knob of butter with the cinnamon powder and almonds or pine nuts (or a mixture) and cook on a low heat until golden brown then mix with the meat and onion. Finally when all is done, mix the rice with the meat, onion and nut mixture very thoroughly with probably about a tablespoon of salt and another knob of butter (remember it’s divided between 15!). This is ideally served just above luke-warm, so don’t worry if it’s not hot. Taste for seasoning, and if needed keep adding butter and salt. Raisins can also be mixed in for sweetness.
Various zingy salads to cut through the richness and wine.
If you can’t get lean lamb mince, then get a bit more of normal mince, and when you’ve browned it all drain the fat it produces (which there will be a lot of). Use more because you lose a lot of volume as the fat renders out.