Rice and lamb pilaf

November 15, 2009  •  Category: ,


This is the traditional rice that is used to stuff a plump chicken or a goose or a turkey. My grandmother would stuff the chicken with it and I liked it better than the chicken. It is delicious and very fragrant. Easy to make and prepare in advance to avoid last minute stress I would serve it with a Thanksgiving turkey with no hesitation!

I consulted The Arab Table by May S. Bsisu for this recipe and tweaked her recipe a bit.

INGREDIENTS: This quantity will serve up to 6 generously

  • 1/2 pound ground lamb, fatty OK
  • 1 1/2 cups Basmati
  • 2 cups boiling water mixed with some veal concentrated stock or beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • SPICES:  1/2 teaspoon allspice, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper. Salt, to taste. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ground clove, ground cumin.
  • Assorted nuts such as almonds, pistachios and pine nuts

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  1. Boil some water and pour it over the almonds and pistachios (if they still have their skin on). When the water is cool, rub the nuts with the tips of your fingers to remove the skins and lay the nuts on a paper towel to dry out. Soak the pine nuts in water for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Measure the rice and soak it in warm water to which you will add a teaspoon of salt. You can change the water again, about 3 or 4 times, until the water is clear and keep it soaked until ready to cook.
  3. Gather all the spices in a small dish. Heat a skillet and add the lamb, frying it over medium heat and breaking the meat with the help of two wooden spoons.
  4. When the meat is browned, turn off the heat and using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a mini-processor in two batches. Pulse until the meat is chopped up in very small bits; this operation can also be done by hand, if you have the patience!
  5. Heat a large pan and add about one tablespoon of butter. When the butter starts to sizzle, add the drained and chopped meat. Add the spices and mix well.Now,  add the rice previously drained in a sieve. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until the rice is coated with butter and the meat is well mixed with the rice. This operation will take about 3 or 4 minutes.
  6. Boil some water or stock ( I used water to which I added one tablespoon of veal concentrate). Pour the stock on top of the rice mixture. Boil for a few seconds and then turn the heat down to very low.
  7. Cover the pan and let the rice mixture cook gently for about 15 minutes, or longer.
  8. While the rice is cooking, heat a small skillet and add one tablespoon of butter. When the butter melts, add the almonds and pine nuts. Shake the skillet from time to time, watching it like a hawk because it can burn so easily! This will take about 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off the heat when the nuts are golden-brown and set the nuts on a paper towel to drain the excess butter.
  9. When the rice is cooked, place it in a serving dish, arrange the nuts on top and serve with yoghurt on the side.



28 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. spice says:

    WOW…I was just reading in one of your other post about this recipe u told one of the blogger about this recipe…and here it is I guess u just posted it….looks yummy…..minced lamb(keema) & rice my favourite.

  2. Angie@Angie's Recipe says:

    I wouldn’t have hesitated it either! This richly spiced nutty rice looks heavenly!

  3. Arwen from Hoglet K says:

    That looks lovely, especially moulded in the fluted tin. My sister makes something she calls Lebanese rice, so it’s interesting to see the different spices we could add to it. Yum!

  4. Joanne says:

    I love this. Kind of like a Middle Eastern version of fried rice. But with way better seasoning and flavors. Your presentation of it is also so beautiful!

  5. Dana says:

    Amazing! Thank you Joumana for the Thanksgiving suggestions and the lovely presentation. I will definitely prepare this dish along with the Loubye b zeit for Thanksgiving.

    Looking forward to your desert posting as well.


  6. Dana says:

    pst, I think I might add some dried cranberries with the nuts for a festive look.

  7. Mona says:

    I prepare a one-dish meal with rice and minced meat too, called Qimah ki Tahari. However, I do not use nuts in it.
    Inshallah I will definitely try this version.

    • Joumana says:

      @Mona, Sabah, Arwen, Joanne, Spice and Angie: Thanks so much for the nice comments!
      @Dana,thanks and cranberries would add a festive touch, for sure!

  8. sabah says:

    It looks very nice, I love all kinds of rice, this one is fantastic, thanks for sharing.

  9. Jeanne says:

    This sounds fantastic – I love the combination of spices used, an the pretty pistachios!

  10. Peter says:

    A very dramatic dish. I suppose this is a main course with the lamb in it.

  11. Amelie says:

    Belle recette de riz que j’adore !
    Merci pour la gentille visite.
    Bonne soirée

  12. tom tall clover farm says:

    My grandmother used to make this amazing rice dish; it was not to missed, among many others. I loved it the next day (if there was any left) stuffed in a pita with roasted chicken.

  13. Teresa says:

    Hi Joumana,

    Can you tell me how I would prepare this Spiced Rice with Lamb in order to stuff a whole chicken?

  14. Murasaki Shikibu says:

    Lebanon is on my list of places where I absolutely have to go now. The food just sounds absolutely delightful.

  15. samir says:

    hmmm… since you are already usuing ground lamb ..why pulse the meat in food processor after cooking??

    • Joumana says:

      @Samir: I do this step because I like the meat to be very small. It is an optional step, OK, don’t do it if you don’t feel like it! :))

  16. sonia says:

    wow lovely presentation and recipe !

  17. domi says:

    Quel beau plat, on dirait un gâteau avec ces beaux fruits secs pleins de couleurs qui nous donne envie de ” croquer ” ce plat, bravo et merci pour cet instant gourmand, bisous et passe un bon mercredi

  18. amaya says:

    We can’t use minced meat?

  19. Barbara says:

    This dish has become a festive favorite at our house. Tonight we’ll have a lemony carrot salad to accompany it. The house will smell wonderful for days. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe with us!

  20. christiann says:

    This is the only turkey stuffing I ever ate and never knew there was anything else! My mother made this every holiday and boy this is the best thing ever! My sister now makes it for our Thanksgiving dinner (with some variations) Mmm, I can almost taste it and smell it!

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