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This is a Jewish recipe for New Year's, Rosh Hashanah, from Iraqi Kurdistan. The sweet beets contrast with the earthy chard, salty beef, and sour lemon for a wonderfully complex taste in every bite. While the rice needs to soak for 1 hour, the prep and cooking is easy for the beautiful and elaborate dish it creates.


Recipe Summary

45 mins
50 mins
1 hr 15 mins
2 hrs 50 mins
6 servings


Original recipe yields 6 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Wash rice repeatedly in a large bowl of water until the water runs clear. Cover rice with fresh water and soak for 1 hour.

  • Drain rice and mix with shredded beets, garlic, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1/2 of the lemon juice, dill, tarragon, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt.

  • Heat oil in a 6-quart stock pot over medium heat. Add beef and remaining salt. Cook and stir until beef is browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove browned beef from the pot with a slotted spoon, leaving the oil behind. Add onion; cook and stir until browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Add cubed beets and saute for another 5 minutes. Remove onion and beets from the pot and mix with the beef.

  • Combine water, remaining lemon juice, and remaining sugar in a bowl to create sweet and sour water.

  • Place 1 layer of chard leaves on the bottom of the pot. Add 1/2 of the rice mixture, followed by a second layer of chard leaves. Add 1/2 of the beef mixture, followed by a layer of chard leaves, and the remaining rice mixture. Add another layer of chard leaves, the remaining beef mixture, and a final topping of chard leaves. Pierce the chard leaf layers with a long and thin knife all the way to the bottom a few times so steam can escape. Pour the sweet and sour water over the top.

  • Bring the pilaf to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Turn the heat to very low, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Cook's Notes:

You can use ground lamb instead of beef as well and any long grain rice instead of basmati.

Dried basil can be substituted for the dried tarragon.

If using table salt, use less than the amount given for kosher salt.

Nutrition Facts

311 calories; protein 19.2g; carbohydrates 33.6g; fat 12.1g; cholesterol 49.6mg; sodium 753.8mg. Full Nutrition