Archive for the ‘Middle-Eastern’ Category

Figs and roasted chicken – perfect comfort food for autumn. As it roasts, the aroma fills the house. Figs are easy to find in the markets this time of year.

Roasted chicken with figs (from Israeli Kitchen blog)

1 whole, clean, roasting chicken

1/2 lemon

2 larges cloves garlic, chopped fine

2 tablespoons olive oil (original recipe calls for oil infused with rosemary – I just added some fresh rosemary to the oil)

1 tablespoon coarse salt

black pepper, 3 or 4 grinds

1 small bunch basil leaves, stems taken off

14 small figs, halved and their stems cut away

2 tablespoons warmed honey

a dash of soy sauce

Squeeze the juice of the lemon over the chicken. Rub the lemon  half all over the chicken. Tuck the spent lemon half into the cavity of the chicken. Cover the chicken and let it soak up the lemon while you’re preparing the next steps.

In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon olive oil with the garlic, coarse salt, black pepper, and soy sauce. Rub the oily mix well over the chicken. Sweep up any garlic pieces that may fall onto the roasting pan and tuck them under the chicken.

Stuff the basil leaves under the skin of the chicken, anywhere you can fin or force room. Put any extra leaves inside the cavity of the chicken alongside the lemon half. Pile the figs up next to the chicken. Drizzle them with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the honey.

Tear off a strip of tin foil and fold it so that it covers the figs, but not the chicken. Let the tin foil lie lightly over the figs; don’t tuck it in around them. Roast at 350 degrees F. til the chicken is a nice golden color. Serve with rice or couscous.

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Remarkably good! This recipe calls for beef or lamb, and beef stock. We’re not big beef eaters, so I made this chicken-themed. It was awesome.

Moroccan chicken vegetable soup (inspired by this recipe)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, finely diced

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1 pound boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2″ cubes

6 cups chicken broth or water

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes

2 small turnips, peeled and diced

2 (I used 4) carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, leaves included, thinly sliced

pinch of saffron threads

12 sprigs flat-leaf parsley

8 sprigs fresh cilantro

1 large zucchini, cut into 1/4″ dice

2 ounces angel hair pasta, broken into small pieces, about 1/2 cup

1 – 2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and turmeric; stir to coat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, 4 – 5 minutes. Add broth (or water), tomatoes and their juice, turnips, carrots, celery, and saffron.

Tie parsley and cilantro sprigs together with kitchen string and add to the pot. Bring soup to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer; cook until the chicken and vegetables are tender – about 45 minutes.

Stir in zucchini and cook, covered, until soft, 8 – 10 minutes. Add pasta and cook until soft, 5 minutes.

Discard the parsley and cilantro sprigs. Season with salt (start with 1 teaspoon and increase if needed), and pepper.

Serve with sprinkled parsley and/or cilantro, if desired. Makes 8 servings.

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I would categorize this under the Best Frittata Ever list. Easy to make and so flavorful. Once again, it’s that Middle East flair that wins me every time.

Persian zucchini frittata (from Saveur)

3 tablespoons canola oil

1/4 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

3 large onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

5 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4″ thick slices

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

7 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

sumac, for garnish

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger, onions, and garlic; cook until soft, 6 – 8 minutes. Add turmeric and zucchini; season with salt and pepper; cook until tender, 12 – 15 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons flour and baking soda; let cool.

Stir eggs into zucchini mixture. Grease a 9 x 13″ casserole with remaining oil; sprinkle with remaining flour; pour in mixture. Bake until set, 25 – 30 minutes. Garnish with parsley and sumac. Makes 6 – 8 servings.

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Middle Eastern food is probably my greatest weakness. I tried my hand at other burgers, and when I found this recipe, well, how could I resist. These were VERY good.

Kefta (confession – I used ground turkey; recipe called for beef and lamb)

16 ounces ground turkey breast

1/3 cup lemon juice

1 small onion, quartered

2 cloves garlic, peeled

8 pitted green olives (Israeli are the BEST)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Place turkey and lemon juice in a large bowl. Gently combine until incorporated. Marinate in the fridge for 1 hour.

Transfer the meat to a colander and press to squeeze out excess moisture. Place onion, garlic, and olives in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.

Add to the marinated meat along with oil, cilantro, parsley, cumin, salt, and pepper. Gently combine until evenly incorporated.

Position rack in upper third of oven, preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack on it. Using about 3 tablespoons of the meat mixture for each, form 12 thin patties, about 2 1/2″ wide and 1/4″ thick. Place on wire rack.

Broil patties until brown and cooked through, 8 – 10 minutes.

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Anything Claudia Roden makes is fabulous. This recipe was adapted from the original by Rosa’s Yummy Yums blog, and I followed her lead.

Not only did it taste good, but it made a very enticing presentation. This Middle-Eastern meatloaf is a winner.

Kibbeh Saniyeh (modified slightly by me)

Ingredients For The “Baked Kibbeh” Base:
2/3 cup fine-ground bulgur
1 medium white onion, cut into quarters
1 pound ground turkey
1 teaspoon sea salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (to grease the pan and the top of the kibbeh)

Ingredients For The “Onion & Pine Nut Topping”:
1 pound white onions, sliced (half-moon)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
Sea salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon ground allspice
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

Method for the “Baked Kibbeh” base:
1. Cover the bulgur with water and let rest 10 minutes. Drain well.
2. In a food processor, purée the onion, then add the meat, salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Blend to a fine paste.
3. Add the drained bulgur and blend again in order to get a smooth, homogenous and soft paste.
4. Preheat the oven to 190° C (375° F). Oil a 26cm (10inch) diameter tart pan/dish and then press the paste into the bottom of the pan/dish with your hands.
5. Flatten and smooth the top. Rub with 1 tablespoons oil.
6. With a pointed knife, cut the kibbeh into 6 wedges through the center, and run the knife around the edges of the dish to release them.
7. Bake the kibbeh in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes, until browned.

Method for the “Topping”:
8. Meanwhile, fry the onions in the olive oil until they are golden brown, stirring often.
9. Add the pine nuts. Stir-fry until lightly golden.
10. Salt and pepper to taste, then add the cinnamon, allspice and the pomegranate molasses.
11. Continue cooking and stirring for about 1 minute.
12. Spread the onion mixture over the top of the kibbeh and serve.

Makes 4 – 6 servings.

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For real! This is vegan and it’s delicious. There is no cheese or anything masquerading to be cheese. And it’s delicious, flavorful, and exotic.

Moroccan pizza (from Veggie num num blog)(slightly adapted by me)

Pizza dough (there is a recipe on the website, but I used the refrigerated, prepackaged kind from Trader Joe’s)

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon Harissa paste

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 small eggplant, sliced thinly

1 zucchini, sliced thinly

1 teaspoon’s worth jarred chili peppers (or more, if you like), diced

1/4 cup mixed pitted olives, sliced in half

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

olive oil

fresh mint leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Roll out dough until thin and transfer onto a lightly oiled and preferably pre-heated baking tray or pizza stone.

Combine the tomato paste with the Harissa and the garlic. Using the back of a dessert spoon, smooth the tomato mixture over the prepared base; spread evenly.

Arrange the eggplant and zucchini on top on the base; scatter with the olives, chili and caraway seeds. Drizzle over a little olive oil and place in pre-heated oven for 20-25mins until base is crisp and golden.

Remove from the oven and scatter with torn fresh mint leaves before serving.


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This is the second Moroccan stew that I’ve tried my hand at – the first one I made here. We really loved this one. It called for beef – I used chicken instead.

Moroccan stew (from An Edible Mosaic)

4 split chicken breasts, bone in

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 medium onions, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 small chile, minced

1 teaspoon coriander

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon curry

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 chicken bouillon cubes

1 bay leaf

5 cups water

1 28-ounce can petit diced tomatoes with the juice

2 large carrots, diced

2 cups chopped kale, slightly packed

1/2 cup red lentils

1/2 cup brown lentils

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup chopped parsley or cilantro, for garnish

Brown the chicken in the olive oil in a large pot over high heat; add the onion, garlic, chili, and spices and saute until the onion is softened a little. Add the black pepper, bouillon cubes, bay leaf, and water; cover the pot, bring to a boil, and allow to simmer for an hour, or until the chicken is very tender. Add the tomatoes, carrots, kale, red and brown lentils, and raisins; bring up to a boil, cover the pot, and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the chick peas and turn off the heat. Serve with fresh chopped parsley on top. Makes 6 servings. (don’t forget to remove the bay leaf before serving).

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