I just noticed this forum, and I am quite thrilled. The reason is I love cooking in the dutch oven (although I prefer it's central Asian name - kazan), and I have quite a few absolutely incredible dishes I am about to share!
Let's start with the plov. Being a close "relative" of pilaf rice, or Indian biryani, I learned it from a friend of mine from Uzbekistan, and he claims it is THE MOST original and authentic recipe ever. Well, lemme tell you - that's what you will hear from any man in Uzbekistan about his plov recipe.
- 1/2 lb lamb fat
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil (not olive)
- 3 lb cubed leg of lamb - goulash size cubes, about 1"
- 2 lb (6-7) carrots
- 1 lb (3-4) onions
- 4-5 garlic cloves
- 3 cups white rice - make sure it's not a parboiled rice. I also tried using a whole grain rice - works great.
- 1/2 tbsp salt (or more, to taste)
- 1 tbsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tbsp black peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 3-4 bay leaves
Step 1 - all the cuttings... Or as the French say - "mise en place" (all in place). Garlic and onions - finely chop. Carrots - cut to a thick sticks (about 1/4" thick). Lamb fat - 1/2" cubes.
Step 2 - render the fat. Put the dutch oven on fire and make it really hot. Then - put all the lamb fat cubes and let the fat render. You will get quite a lot of fat out of it. Then - remove the remainings and add the vegetable oil This is done because of not many people are used to a lamb fat, and it can cause some, let's call it "stomach inconvenience" :).
Step 3 - garlic and onion in. Fry them on very high heat, about 3-4 minutes, until golden.
Step 4 - meat cubes in. Let them fry for about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until well browned from all sides.
Step 4 - carrot sticks. Put them on top of the meat, but do not stir or mix. Let the carrots sit in a layer on top of the meat for 4-5 minutes.
Step 5 - now you can stir, season with the salt, pepper, throw in black peppercorns, cumin seeds and the bay leaves, and let it cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.
Step 6 - add boiling water to cover the content of your oven about 1 1/2 ". Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cook, semi-covered, for about an hour.
Step 7 - stir well, taste, correct the seasoning if needed. Then - add the rice in a single layer on top of the meat. Do not stir!
Step 8 - gently pour boiling hot water on the rice to cover it about 1 1/2". Usually, it's a 1:2 relation between the rice and the water, i.e. 1 cup rice - 2 cups water. Raise the heat to a maximum and bring to a boil. Then - cook, uncovered, until the water is absorbed by the rice.
Step 9 - sprinkle the rice with the ground cumin, then cover the oven in the following way: sheet of baking parchment first, then - a sheet of foil and then - the oven with the lid. This will make sure you have the oven covered almost airtight. Lower the heat to a minimum, cook for another 20-25 minutes and remove from the heat.
A traditional way to serve plov is "upside down" - cover your dutch oven with a plate or tray big enough, and turn the whole thing over, so that the meat comes on top of the rice. See how it looks like...
And guys, this is REALLY not as complex as it seems from the recipe... Once you follow the above - the success is guaranteed. :)