NAR PLOV (Pomegranate Pilaf)
Pomegranate pilaf with roasted hens marinated in pomegranate juice and stuffed with quince.
*A full-sized picture of this dish is available in the Gallery.
Ingredients for 4 servings:
2 small cornish hens
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 cup pomegranate seeds
2 tbsp melted butter
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups long-grain (Basmati) rice (cup size 250 ml)
1 quart (1 liter) water + 1 tbsp salt for soaking rice
3 quarts (3 liter) water + 3 tbsp salt for cooking rice
8 oz (225 g) unsalted butter
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1 lavash (tortilla) for qazmaq
Preparing the hens.
Rinse and pat the hens dry with paper towels and sprinkle the inside and outside of them with salt and pepper.
Place the hens into a container or plastic bag. Pour pomegranate juice all over the hens and marinade them in the refrigerator overnight for at least one hour, breast side down.
Preparing the stuffing (quince and pomegranate seeds).
Wash and cut the quince into quarters (don’t peel them). Remove the core with the seeds and the hard area around the core, then slice each quarter thinly.
Roasting the hens.
Stuff the hens with the quince and pomegranate seeds and place them in a roasting pan. Pour pomegranate juice (marinade) in your pan and then pour melted butter over the hens. (For easier cleanup, you can line the pan with aluminum foil.)
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C), and place the hens in the oven. Roast them until they are cooked and golden brown, basting every 20 minutes with the pan’s juices. To see if the hens are cooked, pierce the inner thigh with a skewer or fine knife. If the juices run clear, they are ready. If your hens are golden brown, but not yet cooked, just loosely cover them with the foil.
Remove the hens from the oven and let them rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Preparing the pilaf.
Rinse the rice thoroughly in cold water several times until the water remains clear to remove excess starch. Then, soak the rice overnight in salty water at room temperature (or at least 1 hour in very hot salty water) for truly great, fluffy, and evenly cooked rice. Before cooking the rice, pour out the water straining the rice using a colander.
Fill a pot with water, add salt, and bring it to a boil. Place the rice into the boiling water. Stir, lower the heat to medium, and let it cook for 5-10 minutes (depending on the quality of your rice). Cooked rice should be soft on the outside and hard inside (not raw).
Strain the rice using a colander and rinse with hot water to wash out any extra salt.
Then, place the rice into a large bowl, add melted butter and pomegranate seeds, and gently mix it all together.
Melt two tablespoons of butter in a pot and place lavash (tortilla) on the butter. Qazmaq (cooked lavash under the rice), will prevent the rice from scorching, forming a delicious crispy crust.
Then, move the rice mixture into the pot.
Wrap the lid of the pot in a tea towel and cover the rice. Cook over low heat for about 45-60 minutes. Put a heat diffuser (or a pan) under your pot to prevent burning.
Serve the pilaf and hens while they are still hot.
Be sure to collect the very tasty sauce from the roasting pan and generously pour it over the rice and hens.
Bon Appétit! Enjoy!
This post is also available in: Russian