Pilaf, pilau, perloo, and purlow are all Carolina lowcountry names for rice casseroles with Persian antecedents. During our colonial era, and well before cotton dominated the culture, Charleston exported fine wool to Europe and enjoyed the fall season with diverse mutton foods, now largely extinct from our table. The fall charcuterie traditions of mutton ham and stew are gone, but with the reintroduction of Carolina Rice, we do have a companion effort to repatriate heritage sheep in the Carolinas. Mutton pilaf was the first new crop rice dish of the fall entertainment season on plantations around Charleston. To celebrate this dish, we’ve chosen not to direct you to heritage breed mutton from our very small producers here—they’ve sold out anyway. Instead, our new crop Carolina Gold rice pilaf marries the finest fall eggplant and the last of our heirloom tomatoes with something you can easily find: fresh ground lamb.
Bold and satisfying, this dish announces all things autumnal: spice notes, mysterious seasonings, mild lamb, fragrant ripe tomatoes, and the sweet richness of roasted eggplant. It is an Eastern costume of flavors cloaked in a perceptible dark richness that whispers “Persia.”