Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tah chin-e barreh

Tah chin-e barreh translates to Baked Saffron Yogurt Rice with Lamb.  This is a fine Persian entree! 
     This recipe cooks better if you have a stone slab in your oven like a pizza oven.  Stone ovens seem to brown food better.  As you can see,  the rice in the photos was not quite brown and crusty enough after baking.  The recipe still turned out very nice.  Basmati rice is better than using long grain rice for this recipe.  I made this one with long grain rice. 
     There are some very nice Persian spice flavors in this dish.  The aroma of this Persian rice and lamb dish is captivating!
     Recipe:  Cut a piece a 6 ounce piece of raw leg of lamb into bite size pieces. 
     Melt a little bit of unsalted butter in a baking pan. 
     Place a bed of thin sliced onion in the pan. 
     Set the lamb pieces on top. 
     Bake for 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven till the lamb is brown and the roasted onion flavor infuses with the lamb. 
     Discard the burnt onions and set the lamb pieces in a mixing bowl. 
     Add a handful of  thin sliced onion.
     Add 3 cloves of chopped garlic.
     Add 2-3 ounces of goats milk plain yogurt.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add a few thin slices of orange peel. 
     Add a couple pinches each of these spices:  Cumin, cinnamon, fennel, fenugreek, sumac berry spice, marjoram and saffron. 
     Add a small squeeze of lemon juice. 
     Mix the ingredients together and marinate covered in a refrigerator for at least 6 hours. 
     Wash some basmati rice with cold water and strain the rice 5 times till the rice liquid is not milky colored. 
     Boil the rice in water for 6 minutes. 
     Strain off the excess water. 
     Stir a little bit of sea salt, black pepper and a few generous pinches of saffron into the rice. 
     Stir a small splash of olive oil into the rice. 
     Brush a bowl shaped baking dish with olive oil. 
     Spoon a small amount of rice into the bowl. 
     Press the rice evenly, about a half inch thick, against the bottom and sides of the bowl. 
     Add some of the rice to the lamb and marinade mixture in the mixing bowl.  Mix the ingredients together thoroughly. 
     Spoon the lamb, rice and yogurt marinade into the rice lined bowl. 
     Cover the top of the bowl with the last of the saffron rice. 
     Gently press the rice in the mold so it is firm. 
     Cover the bowl with a small piece of parchment paper. 
     Cover the parchment paper and the bowl with aluminum foil. 
     Bake in a 350 degree stone oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes.  (In a regular oven, I suggest baking at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 45 minutes to ensure a proper thin crisp rice crust.) 
     After baking, set the bowl uncovered on a counter top to cool for 5 minutes. 
     Run a thin knife around the inside of the bowl to loosen the rice.  
     Set a plate on top if the warm rice bowl. 
     Flip the rice bowl and the plate over together as one. 
     Tap the rice bowl. 
     Gently lift the bowl and the rice should remain on the plate in the shape of the bowl.
     Sauce Recipe:  Warm some goats milk yogurt, a little bit of lemon zest, a small squeeze of lemon juice, a small splash of milk and a generous amount of sumac berry spice over low heat in a sauce pot.  When the sauce is warm, spoon it around the Tah chin-e barreh.
     Unbelievably delicious!  Most of western culture has overlooked Persian cuisine.  Persia has been a gourmet food capitol for many centuries.  The spice mix and aroma of this recipe is so nice!  The lamb is tender and full of great flavor.  The sumac berry lemon yogurt sauce is a nice accompaniment.  This is a very great lamb recipe even if the saffron yogurt rice is not baked red brown and crispy.  Some Iranians may prefer softer rice, but I don't know for sure.  LOL  I do write my recipes after cooking and dining.   This way I can adjust small details so your plate of food turns out perfect.  The changes that were needed to make this a perfect recipe is to use basmati rice and a longer baking time.  I posted a chicken version of this recipe in this blog that did turn out perfect.  Yum!  ...  Shawna      

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