Wash rice thoroughly and set aside to soak for one to three hours. Rinse before use.
In a large covered pot, bring 8 cups water, turmeric and salt to a boil. Add the rinsed rice and boil on high heat uncovered for about 5-8 minutes, or until the rice has slightly softened. Drain the rice in a colander, rinse and set aside.
Place 2 tablespoons of oil over low heat in the same heavy bottom pot.
Spread enough of the rice, around 1 cup to evenly cover the bottom of the pot. This will be the crispy rice referred to as Tahdig.
Combine the partially cooked strained lentils with the remainder of the rice and gently mix.
Place this mixture over the rice already in the pan.
Cut the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter into pieces and place on top of the rice lentil mixture.
Wrap the lid with a clean towel and place on top of the pot. Allow the rice to steam over a medium-low to medium heat for about 45 minutes.
Once the rice is cooked, cautiously and swiftly invert the rice out of the pot onto a large serving platter.
Arrange the beef stew around the platter and garnish with the saffron raisins and dates.
Serve with plain yogurt or pickled vegetables.