I created this dish because I wanted to make something that was both very nutritious and also tasty. I don’t believe in ‘super foods’ (which is mostly a way to make you pay more for foods that aren’t necessarily more nutritious), but I do believe in eating foods that are nutritious because they are high in protein and fiber. Lentils are high in both of them, and so is brown rice. Brown rice (or “hulled” or “unmilled” rice) is whole grain rice. It is chewier and more nutritious than white rice because it has the bran and germ, which are removed to make white rice. Because of this, brown rice is higher in protein and fiber than white rice, and it has more flavor as well. Just brown rice and lentils by themselves wouldn’t make for a tasty dish though. So I decided to add yellow and red bell peppers to add some color, crunch, and freshness. And to add ground beef and beef stock to make it more hearty and add an additional layer of flavor. Pilaf is a generic name for a dish that consists of rice cooked in stock with other ingredients, so the name fits the bill. The result was tasty indeed. Here is what I did…
For 3 servings
200 grams (1 cup) brown rice
200 grams (1 cup) lentils, preferably “du Puy”
450 grams (1 lb) ground beef
1 litre (4 cups) beef stock
1 onion, chopped
1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, cleaned and diced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
extra virgin olive oil
I used “du Puy” lentils, that do not require to be soaked and are done in 25 minutes. The brown rice I used also requires 25 minutes of cooking time. Adjust the cooking times as needed.
Bring 1 litre (4 cups) of beef stock to a boil. Add the lentils…
…and the rice (taking into account any difference in cooking time). Cover the pot and cook until the rice and lentils are cooked, in my case 25 minutes.
In the meantime, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan. When the oil is hot, add a red and a yellow bell pepper, diced. Stir over high heat until the bell pepper starts to color, then turn off the heat.
Lift the bell pepper out of the pan with a slotted spoon and reserve.
In the same pan, stir a chopped onion over medium heat until it is soft, about 5 minutes. You may need to add some additional olive oil.
When the onion is soft, add 450 grams (1 lb) of ground beef. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring and breaking up the meat with wooden spatulas…
…until the meat has lost its raw color.
Season with salt, pepper, ground cumin, and ground coriander to taste. I used half a teaspoon each of the latter two.
By now the rice and lentils should be tender but still firm to the bite.
Strain the remaining beef stock from the rice and lentils into the pan with the meat (and reserve the rice and lentils for now).
Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
Simmer until the stock has reduced by about half.
Now add the rice and lentils…
…as well as the bell pepper. Stir over medium heat until heated through.
Add some good quality extra virgin olive oil for some additional flavor and creaminess.
Stir and taste for seasoning one final time.
The pilaf is now ready to be served and enjoyed.
Are you looking for a dish with unusual ingredients? How about guinea fowl with salsify and porcini sauce? It tastes great, as well…