Kate's Global Kitchen

Turkish Pilaf Stuffing

Serves 8
by Kate Heyhoe


With cinnamon, allspice, and nuts, this savory rice stuffing reflects the customary flavors of Thanksgiving. But it's actually based on a very traditional Turkish rice pilaf. Serve the rice as a side dish or use it as a stuffing, where the warm spices and sweet raisins add flavor to the meat as it cooks.

Note: Try to use real turkey stock or broth in this recipe, or simmer on very low some cut up turkey legs or wings in canned, low-sodium chicken broth with some carrot, leek tops or onion, and celery for about an hour. See the recipe for Quick, Rich Turkey Stock.


2 cups uncooked basmati rice (or long grain rice)
4 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup shelled pistachio nuts
1 cup chopped leek (with pale green part), or onion
Two 2-inch cinnamon sticks
5 cloves studded on a piece of leek or onion
3 cups turkey stock or chicken stock (or more)
1 Roma tomato, chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Fresh ground pepper to taste


1. Rinse the rice several times until the water runs clear. Drain in a colander.

2. Melt 2 teaspoons butter over medium heat in a heavy skillet (10-inch or similar size). Stir in the pistachios and toast until aromatic but still green, about 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.

3. Add remaining 2 teaspoons butter to pan and melt on low heat. Stir in the leek, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. Cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat until the leek is soft, about 7 minutes. Add the drained rice and cook over medium-low heat until the grains turn slightly opaque, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

4. Stir in the stock and add salt to taste (if using canned broth, go easy on the salt). Stir in the tomato, raisins, mint, allspice, cinnamon, and pepper. Cover and cook on low until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 to 18 minutes. Stir with a fork. (If the rice is not yet tender at this point, add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup stock; cover and cook another 5 to 7 minutes, then stir again.) Cover the pan after stirring and remove it from the heat; let stand 15 minutes.

5. Remove the cinnamon sticks and cloves. Gently stir again and mix in the reserved pistachios before serving or reheating.

Note: You can make the rice stuffing the day before, stirring in the pistachios just before serving or reheating. Place the rice in a baking dish or casserole and mix in another 1/3 cup stock. Bake at around 325 degrees F. for 20 minutes.


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Copyright © 1999, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.


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This page created 1999. Modified November 2006.