Azerbaijani GP - Beef Plov

The more I follow the races in F1 and read blogs about the races and the locations, the more I realize I do not know about the world. Geographically speaking I am probably a little more savvy than I give myself credit for, but I could not have named the sea which Baku sits on (The Caspian), or the neighboring countries that surround Azerbaijan (Georgia, Armenia, Iran and Russia). I could point to it on a map though, and I do know the food is flavorful and deserves to be tried! 

Beef Plov

From Natasha’s Kitchen

1 1/2 lbs good beef stew meat or beef chuck
1/3 cup canola oil, or extra light olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks or chopped
1 tsp salt for the meat and veggies + 1 1/2 tsp salt for the rice
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
3-4 bay leaves
1 3/4 cups hot water for braising meat
3 cups long grain rice (Basmati or Jasmine rice work great!)
4 cups hot water when cooking rice
1 head of garlic
1 tsp ground coriander

1. Trim beef of excess fat, pat meat dry with a paper towel and chop into ½" to ¾" pieces.

2. Preheat a dutch oven to high heat. Add ⅓ cup canola oil. Once oil is hot, add chopped meat and saute uncovered about 7 min over high heat until meat is browned, stirring every minute or so. (Note: it's important to preheat the dutch oven first for the meat to sear over very high heat, otherwise it will juice out and become dry.)

3. Reduce heat to medium and add chopped onion, stirring often until onion is softened (5 minutes). Stir in chopped carrots, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp cumin, 3-4 bay leaves and continue to cook over medium heat 5 minutes until carrots are softened.

4. Add 1¾ cups hot water, cover and simmer over medium/low heat 45 min or until meat is tender.

5. Meanwhile, rinse rice until water runs clear, then drain and set aside (this gets rid of the starch so you won't end up with a sticky rice).

6.  Spread rice over the meat and add 4 cups hot water. Sprinkle the rice with 1½ tsp salt (DO NOT STIR), bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium and let cook uncovered until most of the water is absorbed (10 min).

7. Cut off the head of a garlic head to expose the cloves. Put head of garlic, cut side down into the center of the rice and sprinkle the top of the rice with 1 tsp ground coriander.

10. Poke 7-10 holes through the rice to allow steam to escape to the surface, reduce the heat to low then cover and cook an additional 15 minutes or until rice is cooked through. Remove the garlic head and bay leaves and stir everything gently to combine.

 

Ok, so a few disclaimers and additional info... this is a Plov, which basically is a Pilaf.

Apparently, Plov is a very popular dish in Russia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan,  pretty much all of Central Asia and indeed Azerbaijan. However, I’m pretty sure this is more of an Uzbek and/or Russian version than Azerbaijani. It is nonetheless, delicious and I would highly recommend you make it.

The only thing missing are some veggies, so I recommend serving it with a salad or some roasted broccoli (which I will serve and eat with ANYTHING).

I found a website recently, called Flavors of Baku, which I think I will have to look into a little more for next time!

So as not to disappoint, here are Ferrari and Renault's posters for the race!