NewlyNested: Mazel Plov!
a blogumn by Debra Goykhman
My husband used to traditionally visit his hometown of Philadelphia to celebrate his birthday. Before we got married (4 months before) my husband continued this tradition and flew from Los Angeles to Philadelphia, while I drove to there with my brother from Pittsburgh, PA to share a birthday celebration for the first time with my future in-laws. I remember this trip so vividly because it was one of the first times I truly felt like I belonged in my new family. The ladies in the family cooked meals together, shared recipes, and I was given the honor of presenting Alan (my husband) with his birthday cake. Additionally my brother, who had never met my in-laws, was welcomed into the family as if he had been around for years. It was a trip that was comforting and the “I’m seeing the parents” nerves began to vanish.
One element that brings people together is “breaking bread.” There was plenty of eating, but the communal cooking is always a great sharing point. One dish that stuck with my brother and me was plov, which means pilaf or meat and rice. My mother-in-law made a plov dish with steak, garlic, onions, rice and carrots. It was so good that my brother and I continued to talk about it all the way back to Pittsburgh. I tried to recreate the recipe with lamb and prunes, which is one of many variations. Something was slightly off so I didn’t try the recipe again until recently.
Just a few weeks ago I made a trip to Boston and visited another friends and we went to her parents house for dinner. There we had plov with chicken. Once again it was absolutely delicious. There I remembered one of the key ingredients was cumin, something I put in my last one, but not nearly enough.
I am going to share with you a recipe that I have come to like, but plov is the kind of dish that you can add whatever you want to. Usually saffron and dried fruit is added, something that isn’t in this recipe. This is a chicken plov, which cooks quicker than a red meat version. If you use red meat you should braise the meat much longer to make sure it is tender. Play around, see what you like and enjoy!
What You’ll Need:
3 carrots (shredded or chopped)
1 onion or a bunch of green onions chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
1 bulb of garlic pealed
1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
2lbs chicken drumstick (also great with a whole cut up chicken)
2 cups rice
4 cups chicken stock
1 ½ tbsp cumin
½ tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Soften the vegetables in a large soup or dutch/french oven in olive oil. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer for 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the rice is fully cooked.