There are pine nuts… and then.. there are pinenuts.
Typically, here in Australia, there are two types of pine nut sold, the European pine nut (grown throughout Europe and the Middle East) and the Asian pine nut (grown in China and Korea).
When shopping for pine nuts, make sure you are getting what you paid for!! I often see the Chinese variety sold in supermarkets at prices which are higher than the European variety found at good nut shops. It’s a bit like buying a pair of designer shoes, only to find a teeny-weeny Made In China sticker hidden beneath another sticker on the box. Arrhhhh!!!
Pinenut varieties are easily distinguished by their shape and colour. European pine nuts (pictured on the left) have a long, slender shape and more homogeneous flesh, whereas Asian pine nuts (pictured on the right) are a shorter, tear-drop shape.
There is a significant price difference between the two.. as well as a big different in their taste and texture, with European nuts being far superior to their Chinese counterparts. Another important difference is that Chinese pine nuts have often been linked to occurrences of Pine Mouth (something to avoid). So, in a nutshell..if you can afford it..aim for the European variety.
You will need:
500 grams lamb shoulder, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
15-20 mint leaves
1/2 large red onion red onion diced
1 large clove garlic minced
35 grams pine nuts
dash of cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to season
1 tsp grated lemon rind
100 grams jasmine rice
1 large roasted red capsicum
Grill the capsicums. See Chargrilled Capsicums for more info. Slice into 5 cm strips.
Boil the rice as per directions on the pack. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt during the cooking process. Once cooked, strain the rice and set aside to cool.
In a fry pan, heat the oil and gently sauté the onion and garlic. Do not allow to brown.
Add the lamb mince and cook for 1-2 minutes on medium heat.
Add the mint, lemon rind, cumin, pine nuts, salt and pepper. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the meat is completely cooked.
Remove from the heat. Combine with the rice and sliced capsicums.
Serve, garnished with a wedge of lemon.