In my office, I work with 10 guys and 1 girl, and each of them have the most interesting characters. There are mathematicians, quantitative finance dudes, brokers and a bond expert. Now, the bond expert is called Jorge, a 69-year old man from Croatia who has lived at least 40 years in Argentina – which in my opinion makes him almost Argentine, except for the fact that he does not have the Argentine passport, but a permanent residence document.
Recently, Jorge started the custom of cooking for the entire office every Thursday. He loves to cook, and he absolutely adores history, so everytime he cooks something for us, we get an introduction to the origins of the food, where it came from, which century it started its existence, the different variations to the same dish as a result of evolution in plant species etc, etc.
Last Thursday, he made a delightful bacon pilaf, and upon my relentless requests, he gave me the recipe, in detail. I finally got down to cooking it yesterday, and made a slight twist to it by adding golden raisins, which I love and always never fail to invoke the Middle Eastern taste in rice. Garnished with spring onions and parsley, the dish was a total, total hit.
BACON & GOLDEN RAISIN PILAF (Serves 4)
1) 200g of long grain white rice
2) 300g of smoked bacon
3) 1 small tube of saffron (or 1 cube of saffron stock from Knorr’s)
4) Ground red pepper
5) Salt to taste
6) 1 small packet of golden raisins
1) Cut the bacon into small strips and stir fry them in a pan (using the fats as oil)
2) After about 5 to 10 minutes when the bacon is more or less cooked, add in the ground red pepper
3) Add in the rice and stir for a while to let the rice absorb the flavours
4) Add in saffron and 500 ml of water initially, stirring every once in a while
5) As rice cooks, add as much more water as needed, but in small portions each time until rice achieves consistency you like
6) Once rice is cooked, add in golden raisins, and stir to make sure they are distributed evenly
7) Chop parsley and spring onions for garnish