Chicken Livers Pilaf

Stevie Parle

For 4 people

300 g basmati rice
2 red onions
250 g butter
Handful 7 spice mix*
2 tbsp mixed nuts - almonds, walnuts, pine nuts

500g Chicken livers (trimmed of membrane, grotty bits etc.)
1tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp greek style yogurt
2 handfuls chopped herbs (a mixture of parsley, dill and mint is nice)
Turkish chilli flakes

*Seven spice mix
150 g coriander
130 g cumin
120 g allspice
150 g cinnamon
40 g cloves
180 g pepper
40 g nutmeg



Seven spice mix
Lightly toast and grind the spices.

For the pilaf
Wash the basmati rice carefully in water 3 times to remove starch, stirring gently with your fingers. Try not to damage the grains. When the water runs almost clear, soak the rice for an hour or two. Slice onions into half moons. Heat 200g butter in a heavy, deep pan that has a tight-fitting lid. Cook onions slowly in butter with a good pinch of salt until soft but not mushy. Add the nuts and a good handful (approx 2 tablespoons) 7 spice, continue cooking with onions for about 5 minutes.
Drain your rice well, again taking care not to break up the grains. Turn up the heat so the base of the pan is hot and the onions are sizzling. Add the rice and a good pinch of salt (bear in mind your onions should be well seasoned too). Very carefully stir the onions through the rice to mix, only twice or three times is enough. Add boiling water to cover the rice and about 2.5cm more. The water must be just off the boil and the base of the pan should be hot. Stir only once to mix. When the water reaches a fast simmer, put a cartouche over the rice , a tea towel on top, and a tight lid to cover. Weigh down the lid to ensure that no steam can escape.
Cook for 4 minutes on a high heat, then reduce heat to low and cook for a further 6 minutes. After this time is up take the pan off the heat and rest, covered for about 10 minutes more. Resist the temptation to take off the lid.

For the livers
Make sure livers are trimmed well, season them in a bowl with salt. Heat a frying pan until smoking hot, add olive oil. Wait a few second for the oil to smoke, then add your chicken livers, making sure they have enough space in the pan to fry nicely. Sear the livers on one side until golden brown, then turn them over. Colour nicely on the other side too, then add a generous pinch of 7 spice and turn down the heat. Pour over 1/2 a tablespoon pomegranate molasses and immediately add the remaining butter (50g). Toss the livers in the butter and molasses, reducing the molasses slightly. Take off the heat.
Have your cooked pilaf ready in a bowl. Fluff up slightly with a fork. Mix in a good handful of chopped herbs. Plate up the rice. Add the yogurt to the pan with the livers, stir very slightly to mix (but you don't want it all mixed up completely).
Pour the livers and the sauce over the pilaf. To finish, sprinkle over the rest of the herbs, sumac and chilli flakes.