With his growling, guttural voice and lyrics that take in both the local and universal, it is quite plain to see why Stefan Murphy is regarded as one of Dublin’s treasures of the music scene. As the chief troubadour for The Mighty Stef, he brings a great depth to the band’s four piece sonic richness. Ahead of their biggest headliner to date, Stefan filled me in on working with producer superstar Alain Johannes, who was at the helm for their latest EP.
“He told tales of doing DIY with PJ Harvey, being taken to the Grammys as Gwen Stefani’s date, his misadventures with Queens Of The Stone Age and a million other names casually dropped but in a very endearing and entertaining fashion. We seriously loved it.”
Mr. Murphy is also happy to take direction in other aspects of his life, such as the kitchen. His Iranian wife Leyla has schooled him in the ways of Persian cooking and this meat and rice dish is now a staple of his. No prizes to see where the rest of the band will be headed after their Whelan’s show…
1 pound mince beef
1.5 Spanish onions finely chopped
1 Clove of minced Garlic
1 bag frozen string beans
Spice list: cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, pinch of saffron
1 tin tomato puree
3 cups long grain, rinsed basmati rice
Fry the onions and turmeric until golden brown. Add mince beef and cook till browned. Add garlic, string beans, and a tea spoon each of salt, black pepper, cumin, and cinnamon. Stir together and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the tin of tomato puree and stir through. Cook on low heat until beans become soft.
Boil some water in a kettle and mix some grains of saffron with a small bit of boiling water in a cup. To prepare the rice, bring a large pot that has a tight fitting lid with water to boil.
When water comes to a boil, add the rice. Allow the rice to boil at a high temperature uncovered for 10 minutes. Drain the rice, clear the pot and add some oil and water. Take half the rice and pour it into the pot and spread it around so the pot is covered. Then drop in your meat mixture and spread equally over the first layer of rice. Then add the remaining rice over the meat mixture and spread evenly over top. Poke two holes down into the rice/meat mixture with the handle of a fork. Take the saffron mixture and pour over the top of the rice and down into the holes. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid. Cook on a high heat for 2 minutes, then turn down the temperature to a low heat. Cook on a low heat for 40 minutes.
The crispy rice at bottom of pot is called “Tadic” and should be placed on top when serving.
The Mighty Stef play Whelan’s on January 31st. Their EP ‘Nightwatchman Of The Iveagh Flats’ is out now.
This piece is also available to read in the far more reputable, Irish Times.