My Syrian grandmother, or Sittau in Arabic, was uber-American at Thanksgiving: turkey, cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes (that no one ate). Except for the stuffing. This rice-based stuffing mixes hints of cinnamon and allspice, with the earthiness of ground lamb. Garnished with pomegranate, it's even pretty to look at. This recipe is adapted from my family's cookbook, A Taste of Syria.
-- Michele Kayal
- 1 1/2 pounds coarsely ground lamb
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup pine nuts, divided
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
- 2 teaspoons da'ah*
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup pistachios, shelled and skinned, divided
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add the meat and cook for 5 minutes. Add the onion and continue cooking until the meat is no longer pink and the juices have evaporated, about 20 minutes more.
While the meat cooks, carefully toast 1/4 cup of the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat, watching carefully to make sure they don't burn. Set aside.
When the meat is cooked, add the broth and salt, cover and bring to a boil. Add the rice and mix thoroughly. Cover the skillet and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 30 to 35 minutes until the rice is tender and all the liquid is evaporated. (If the broth evaporates before the rice is tender, add additional broth or water, 1/4 cup at a time.)
When the rice is cooked, add the da'ah, cinnamon, the uncooked pine nuts and 1/4 cup of the pistachios. Mix well.
Place the finished stuffing on a platter. Garnish with toasted pine nuts, the remaining pistachios and the pomegranate seeds.