Russian Lamb Pilaf (Plov) Recipe

Russian Lamb Pilaf (Plov)

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Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 90 mins
Total: 110 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
773 Calories
30g Fat
88g Carbs
38g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 773
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 30g 38%
Saturated Fat 14g 69%
Cholesterol 128mg 43%
Sodium 254mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 88g 32%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Protein 38g
Calcium 212mg 16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This Russian lamb pilaf recipe, known as plov in Russian, is made with long-grain white rice, saffron, raisins, prunes, and a combination of boneless lamb cubes and ground lamb.

Pilafs are a popular way to use rice in Eastern Europe and throughout the world where it is known as pilau in Turkey and pilaf in the Middle East. Rice pilaf also is known as pilau, perloo, perlau, plaw, pilaw, and pilaff, depending on where you live.

Essentially, a pilaf is made by toasting the rice in hot butter or oil and then adding hot stock or water and simmering, covered, until all the liquid is absorbed.

In Eastern Europe, this "pilaf method" of cooking also can be applied to other grains like barley, buckwheat groats, millet, and others.


  • 2 ounces/50 g raisins
  • 4 ounces/115 g pitted prunes
  • 1 tablespoon/15 ml fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ounce/25 g butter
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 1 pound/450 g boneless lamb (trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch/1-cm cubes)
  • 8 ounces/225 g lean ground lamb
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 2 1/2 cups/600 ml lamb stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 2 cups/350 g long-grain white rice (rinsed and drained)
  • Large pinch saffron
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Garnish: flat-leaf parsley

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place the raisins and prunes into a small bowl and pour over enough water to cover. Add lemon juice and let soak for at least 1 hour. Drain. Roughly chop the prunes.

  3. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large pan, add the onion, and cook for 5 minutes. Add cubed lamb, ground lamb, and crushed garlic cloves. Fry for 5 minutes, stirring constantly until browned.

  4. Pour 2/3 cup/150 ml of stock into the pan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour, or until the lamb is tender.

  5. Add the remaining stock and bring to a boil. Add rinsed long-grain white rice and a large pinch of saffron. Stir, then cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender.

  6. Add the drained raisins, drained chopped prunes, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat through for a few minutes, then turn out onto a warmed serving dish and garnish with sprigs of flat-leaf parsley.

Source: "Polish & Russian: 70 Traditional Step-by-Step Dishes from Eastern Europe" from the "Cooking Around the World" series by Lesley Chamberlain & Catherine Atkinson (Anness Publishing Ltd., 2006).


Substitute chunks of pork loin or bone-in chicken pieces for the lamb. The raisins and prunes work well with these other proteins.