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Jan 16, 2009 07:41 AM

A Platter of Figs

Has anyone cooked from A Platter of Figs yet? If so, what worked, what didn't. I just received the cookbook on Tuesday and leafing through it there did appear to be some interesting things to try.

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  1. I plan on making a soup this weekend. It's the one with lamb and I *think* it's in the winter section (maybe called Harira?).

    Regardless, I've going to favorite this thread and use it as a cookbook report thread.

    1. Harira Soup (pg. 219)

      This was a delicious soup. But, it makes a huge amount of soup (more than the projected 8-10 servings). I suggest making a half batch.

      Anyway, the main ingredients are lamb, dried fava beans, red lentils, a lot of spices (saffron, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, pepper and cayenne chile) and herbs (parsley and cilantro).

      What made this soup different was the end prep. The start of the soup was pretty standard (brown lamb, add spices, onions, garlic, dried beans and water). This is simmered for about an hour and a half.

      Meanwhile, puree in a blender, tomatoes, parsley and cilantro and then add this to the soup after the long simmer. After the second simmer, you take half the soup and puree it into the blender and return it back into the pot.

      Lastly, make a slurry with flour and water, add it to the soup, simmer and add half a stick of butter.

      The soup was such a great consistency, mostly smooth, but sometimes with hidden chunks. Mine was probably chunkier because I had unpeeled favas (v. the called for peeled favas). And, it was such a satisfying rich flavor.

      Perfect for a cold winter.

      No picture, because despite it's deliciousness, it's kind of a brownish, dull looking color.

      6 Replies
      1. re: beetlebug

        How do you think this would work with a different protein? I've got the book, and look forward to cooking from it, but I've been overwhelmed in the last few months with new cookbooks and sort of don't even know where to start (not a bad problem to have!).

        1. re: LulusMom

          It's hard to say because the lamb does infuse the soup itself (it's a water based broth). But, I bet beef or pork would go nicely with it. Not sure about chicken though.

          1. re: beetlebug

            Ach, too bad. Thanks for letting me know. I cook/eat very little red meat, so was hoping that it might work with something else, but I do trust you that it probably needs the meat element.

            1. re: LulusMom

              Well, the full portion of soup takes only about a lb of meat. But, that little meat is enough to flavor the soup. And, I do think, even for a family of 3 or 4, that you make a half portion.

              1. re: LulusMom

                I can identify, L, but lamb gets you authentic flavor, for harira is a traditional Moroccan dish.

                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  Yeah, but I figured it was worth asking. But I def. understand that sometimes there is just nothing else that is going to work. And I *do* occasionally cook meat.

        2. Good thread! I posted about this about a month ago and nobody responded :(

          What a great book, I am still waiting for some time to dive in.

          7 Replies
          1. re: wineos

            I wish we could Cookbook of the Month this book!

            1. re: Tom P

              Me too, which is why I started this thread

              1. re: Tom P

                I'm guessing that time will come. Let the libraries get enough copies, etc. Vote for it in the next couple of rounds.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  I agree that A Platter of Figs will be a COTM because too many CH's have loved it even without cooking a thing from it. My copy from Amazon took over a month to arrive and it may be a bit too soon to select it for COTM because it is a little difficult to acquire at the moment (due to its newness?). But its time will come and I am SO anticipating its thirty days (and hopefully more) of fame!

                  1. re: ideabaker

                    ???? - I ordered mine from Amazon and got it in 3 days

                    1. re: DiningDiva

                      There was a definite shortage over the holidays. I ordered three from Amazon for Christmas gifts and they did not get to the recipients until well into Jan. I don't think the publisher realized how popular it would be. Now that there is a new printing, it is available.

                      1. re: Tom P

                        Okay, thanks for the info. It's true I did not get mine until after the holidays. Anyway, it looks like it will be an interesting book from which to cook.

            2. I finally got a copy from the library and am curious as to what other dishes people have liked (or not liked) from this book.