Friday, April 10, 2009

Adas Polo

I had Adas Polo for the first time at a Persian restaurant called Pomegranates on College St. It was so delicious. I loved the sweet tasting rice and lentil pilaf and the saffron infused fork tender braised lamb. It was the first time I'd tasted Persian food, and from then on, I was hooked. I hounded my Persian co-worker, Shiva for some recipes the next day!

Today, I had beef shanks in the fridge so I made Adas polo with beef instead instead of lamb.
Here's my version of the recipe. It served two with some extra rice and lentil pilaf leftover for tomorrow.

2 beef (or lamb) shanks
2 onions diced
2 cups chicken stock
4 cloves garlic chopped
1/2 tsp saffron
2 cups basmati rice (I used jasmine rice)
1/2 cup lentils
1/3 cup raisins
few dashes cinnamon
1 tsp butter
1/4 cup barberries

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Grind saffron and place in a small bowl and add 2-3 tbsp hot water.
Saute onions and garlic in a skillet until golden. Add half of the saffron water to the onions.
Push the onions to the edge of the pan and sear the beef shanks on both sides and season with salt and pepper.
Transfer beef and onion mixture to a baking pan and pour broth until it reaches 1/3 way up the sides of the beef shank. Braise in the oven for about 2 hours (or more) until fork tender. Check on the beef every half hour and top up with more broth or water so beef is always immersed in liquid 1/3 up the sides.

When beef has only 1/2 hour more to braise, cook rice in the rice cooker.
Was and simmer lentils in a about 1 cup of water on the stove in a small pot until tender but not mushy (about 15-20 minutes). Drain and set aside.
When rice has finished cooking pour the rest of the saffron water over the top of the rice and mix so that some rice grains are white and some are yellow. Stir in raisins, lentils, cinnamon and butter and season with salt and pepper.

Remove beef shanks from the oven and serve on top of the rice scooping some of the caramelized onions and sauce over top if desired. Sprinkle with barberries to finish off.

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