Dill, lemon and green bean pilaf recipe
“It’s usually at about the sixth attempt that I finally stop my fork pecking at a plate of this. It is crazily moreish,” says food writer Mark Diacono. “By all means, make this with coriander, mint, lovage or chervil in any combination, but this is one of the places I love dill, and plenty of it. Whichever herb/s you choose, go big.”
300g (10oz) basmati rice400ml (14fl oz) chicken or vegetable stock30g (1oz) butter1 onion, thinly sliced3 garlic cloves, finely chopped2 bay leavesBig bunch of dill, stalks and leaves separated and both finely chopped1 tsp ground cumin1 tsp ground coriander½ tsp ground turmeric¼ tsp ground cinnamon200g (7oz) green beans, stalk end trimmed (or use thin slices of courgette/zucchini)Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon40g (1½oz) shelled pistachios (or use whole almonds), roughly choppedSea salt and freshly ground black pepperNatural yoghurt and lemon wedges, to serve
1. Soak the rice in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes, then drain well. Bring the stock to a bare simmer.
2. Melt the butter in a wide pan over a low-medium heat and cook the onion, garlic, bay leaves and dill stalks for 10 minutes until soft. Add the spices and half a teaspoon salt and cook for a minute.
3. Add the rice to the pan, along with the beans and half of the dill leaves, stirring for 30 seconds to coat well and so it doesn’t burn. Cover the rice with the hot stock, add the lemon zest and check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. Put the lid on and cook for five minutes over a high heat, then turn it down to the lowest heat and cook for 10 minutes until the stock is absorbed and the rice is just tender. Turn the heat off, remove the lid and place a tea towel over the pan, then return the lid and leave to rest for five minutes.
4. Fluff the rice with a fork, then scatter over the remaining dill and the nuts and serve immediately with yoghurt and lemon wedges on the side.
Herb by Mark Diacono is published by Quadrille, priced £26. Photography Mark Diacono. Available now.