Estamboli Polo (Green Beans Rice)
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 2 hour 30 mins
Ready in: 2 hour 45 min
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
4 tablespoons oil
2 pounds good quality chuck beef, cut into ½-inch cubes
6 tablespoons tomato paste
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground saffron (optional)
2½ cups water
2 pounds fresh or frozen cut green beans, about 6 cups
2 tablespoons butter
10 cups water
3 cups long grain basmati rice washed and drained
1 tablespoon salt
4 tablespoons oil (divided)
Heat oil in a deep nonstick pan over medium high heat. Add chopped onions. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 to 7 minutes or until onions are slightly golden. Increase heat to high, add meat and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, salt, pepper and turmeric. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes or until the meat is slightly browned. Add 2½ cups water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium low, cover and cook for about 50 minutes. Add green beans, saffron and 2 tablespoons butter. Cook for 30 minutes or until beans are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Bring 10 cups of water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil in a large nonstick pot. Add rice; stir and return back to a boil. Lower heat to medium; cook for about 6 to 7 minutes or until rice rises to the top. Drain in a fine mesh colander.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the same pot. Arrange one-third of the rice on the bottom of the pot, top with a third of the meat mixture. Repeat alternating the layers until all the ingredients are used. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke several holes in the rice, all the way to the bottom of the pot to allow steam to escape. Place a clean dishtowel or 2 layers of paper towel over the pot and cover firmly with a lid to absorb the steam. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Pour ¼ cup water mixed with the remaining oil (2 tablespoons) over the rice. Lower heat to medium low, cook for 1 hour.
To serve, gently spoon the rice mixture onto a serving plate lightly mixing the ingredients. The bottom of the rice develops a crisp crust that you can serve on a separate plate.