Tah Chin with Ground Lamb
Tah chin, sometimes called tahchin or tah cheen, is a recipe you should probably know. Iranian food has become one of my top foods over the years. Thanks to my Persian father-in-law, I know exactly what good koobideh kebab should taste like and how to properly navigate a pomegranate. I also know that you can, in fact, make khoresht sabzi with venison after one goes hunting in Northern Minnesota and butchers a deer in one's suburban garage.
The first time I had tah chin was the day after our wedding last year. My father-in-law ordered two whole lambs for a big celebratory picnic. Using the leftover lamb, he made this amazing stuff that's sort of like Iranian hot dish.
Turns out, it wasn't just his personal leftovers invention like I originally thought.
Tah chin is a thing and it's really delicious.
It's so easy to make and a great way to use up leftover lamb or beef (or venison if it comes to that). I'm sure I could come up with a paleo hack for this like the paella, but sometimes I just like to eat real rice, guys.
TAH CHIN WITH GROUND LAMB
1 lb. ground lamb, browned and seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, cumin and coriander (you can sub any leftover meat though — this is just a seasoning profile I like for lamb) 2 cups basmati rice, cooked about halfway and drained (you can also sub 4 cups leftover cooked rice — I did and it wasn't terrible) 2 eggs, scrambled 1.5 cups full-fat plain yogurt 1/2 tsp saffron threads, dissolved in 1/8 cup warm water (it's kind of hard to measure saffron threads, but basically a pinch of them) 1 teaspoon of salt (to taste) fresh black pepper to taste 3 tablespoons melted ghee dried cranberries, barberries or pomegranate seeds to garnish (optional) fresh dill and sumac to garnish
Preheat the oven to 375.
Grease a glass casserole dish with ghee (the glass helps monitor the tahdiq — see notes below). Mix all the ingredients but the dill in a bowl. Press the mixture into the casserole dish (the whole bottom of the pan should have rice touching it).
Then throw it into the oven for 1 hour or more, uncovered, until the bottom of the rice is nice and crusty.
Let rest for 5-10 minutes, then flip onto a plate like an upside-down cake. Garnish with fresh dill and sumac (and dried cranberries or pomegranate seeds, if you like). Eat.
The tahdig (caramelized rice crust) is the best part of this dish. There are literally fights over it at family gatherings. You could add a 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, mostly for color so it looks like you're super rich and flush with saffron. WTF is a barberry? It's a tart berry that usually goes on top of this dish. You can sub dried cranberries, pomegranate seeds or leave them out entirely if you don't have any in the cupboard like me. I also sprinkled some sumac on this before eating. It gives it a little extra oomph.