Since I'm learning Persian cooking and am ALWAYS looking for a way to cook with my favorite vegetable
this recipe for Lubia (bean) Polo (rice) or Persian Green Beans and Rice is perfect. The cinnamon adds warmth and the saffron adds unmistakable Middle Eastern flavor. This recipe is made with beautiful and fragrant Basmati rice, which is favored in Middle Eastern cooking because the grains stay
separate after cooking, making it a fluffy rice.
I call this recipe simple because it doesn't require cooking to achieve a "tah-digh" or "tahdig". According to renowned Persian cooking expert Najmieh Batmanglij "... the bottom of the pot has a crisp
golden brown crust, tah dig. Tah dig should be a golden color, never scorched or dark brown. The reputation of Iranian cooks rests on the quality of their tah dig, or golden crust." This recipealso differs in that it uses ground beef in place of cubed beef or pork.
This is a much easier and more forgiving version of the original dish, perfect for any night of the week.
Persian Green Beans & Rice (Lubia Polo)
2 large onions, chopped
Vegetable oil to sauté onions
1 pound lean ground
2 cups green beans, cut in 1/2" pieces
1/2 teaspoon saffron - steeped in a very small amount of water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
One small can of tomato paste
or tube of paste
salt and pepper to taste
Rice: Prepare 4 cups of Basmati rice on stove top or in an electric rice cooker. As you will be adding the green bean and beef mixture to the rice you'll want to adjust the size of the pot you use.
Sauté the onions with some oil.
When the onion is softened add the ground beef and cook until the beef is brown (pour off any excess fat).
Add the green beans and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the saffron and water, cinnamon and tomato paste to the beans and beef. Mix well. You may adjust the amount of tomato paste to your preference (start with 3 tablespoons).
Add between 1/3 - 1/2 cup of water to the green beans/beef and cook them for on low heat, covered for another 5 to 10 minutes.
After the mixture has simmered add salt and pepper to taste.
When the rice is about 3/4 of the way cooked add the beef/green beans into the rice and mix well. Let the rice continue to cook for the remaining time, covered.
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