Turkish Lamb Pilaf Or What To Do With Leftover Lamb

This is what I do when I have leftover lamb, not a lot of time, and haven’t been shopping. It goes well with tomatoes a la polonaise.

Normally, a pilaf would have white rice with whatever needs to be used up – pieces of meat, raisins etc mixed in. I once used some leftover sausages and leftover chicken from two different meals, plus some elderly walnuts, and even more elderly raisins, resuscitated by being soaked in whisky.

This particular incarnation of a pilaf  uses up lamb from a previous roast, and makes use also of any remaining gravy or juices, the rice turns brown – and it tastes even better.

Dead simple, and a perfect dish for leftovers

For a post all about the origins of the pilaf, follow this link.

For a post on basmati rice, the Champagne of rice, follow this link.

Recipe for Turkish Lamb Pilaf

Serves three/four ish


  • mug of basmati rice
  • handful sultanas or raisins, or dried cranberries
  • a couple of cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed with smoked salt
  • an onion
  • pine nuts or flaked almonds
  • 2 mugs, more or less, of cooked lamb, diced
  • some sliced garlic sausage or chorizo
  • 1 tin of tomatoes, roughly chopped and juice reserved
  • big tub (500g/1 lb of Total yoghurt)
  • cinnamon stick
  • teaspoon of tumeric (or some saffron)
  • vegetable stock cube – or any juices left over from the roast (reduce the amount of water accordingly
  • marsala or calvados
  • knob butter
  • glug olive oil


1. Soak sultanas/raisins in either hot water or marsala/calvados for half an hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 180°C and put generous knob of butter in casserole and pour in rice, fry approx three minutes do not allow to burn.
3. Boil water, pour into now empty mug, add stock cube and tumeric.
4. Add this plus an additional mug of boiling water (or a mix of roast juices and water to make up the mug) and the cinnamon stick to the rice.
5. Cover and put in the oven for about 20 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, in a frying pan, put olive oil.
7. Add onion and garlic and until translucent.
8. Empty in the chopped lamb, drained tomatoes, sausage, nuts, dried fruit.
9. If it looks a little dry add some of the reserved tomato juice.
10. Add all this to the cooked rice.
11. Serve with the yogurt.

NB: some people also add cardamom pods but I don’t think they are very nice to eat. You can simply add the seeds though.

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