I love spice. To me, spicy doesn’t always mean hot. It means a taste that explodes in your mouth or enhances the specific dish or sends you on arm-chair travels.
This month marks the first anniversary of Think Spice, Think…..., created by Sunita of Sunita’s World. To celebrate, Sunita asked participants to use their favorite spice. That would be difficult for me, since I really love spices of all kinds. One evening, though, while browsing through one of my recent issues of Cooking Light, I saw a recipe for Greek Lamb Pilaf, and one of the key ingredients was cinnamon. I had pretty much already decided to use cinnamon as my spice, so I was particularly delighted I could use it in a savory dish. I confess that I added a bit more cinnamon than the recipe called for, but it only contributed to the depth of flavors. I did substitute ground beef for the lamb, since it is easier to find here, and, following CL’s suggestion, I served the pilaf with green beans, sautéed pine nuts, and feta cheese.
Greek-style meat pilaf
(adapted from Cooking Light, June 2008)
2 1/2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large onion)
3/4 cup chopped carrot (about 1 carrot)
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 pound lean ground meat (beef or lamb)
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 cup chopped plum tomato (about 1 tomato)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; stir in chopped tomato, 3 tablespoons parsley, mint, lemon juice, and salt. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley
4 servings (serving size: 1 2/3 cups)
Green Beans with pine nuts and feta
Trim one pound of green beans. Cook in boiling water for about 3 minutes, or until just tender, but still crisp; drain. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in skillet, add 4 teaspoons pine nuts and sauté until lightly toasted. Add beans, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Sprinkle with 4 teaspoons crumbled feta and serve.
I'm looking forward to seeing all the entries for this anniversary event, so check out the Think Spice site in early September.