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*September 2010 COTM: tNBoEF - Fish, Poultry, and Seafood & Meat Dishes

Our cookbooks for September 2010 are THE NEW BOOK OF MIDDLE EASTERN FOOD
ARABESQUE: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon by Claudia Roden.

Please use this thread to discuss recipes from the chapters Fish, Poultry, and Seafood & Meat Dishes from THE NEW BOOK OF MIDDLE EASTERN FOOD

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. Is there any way to link up with the past COTM discussions of Arabesque? Or did I somehow miss that (very possible, insanity prevails around here).

    2 Replies
    1. re: LulusMom

      Arabesque has its own threads. They are the same ones we used the first time we cooked from the book. Look in the COTM announcement post.

      1. re: beetlebug

        Thanks bb, my fault for not reading the COTM post! I just didn't see any arabesque post and figured somehow they'd be added in with these. My bad.

    2. Meatballs in tomato sauce, p275 in my edition

      This is a Moroccan version of an everyday Middle Eastern dish, according to Roden. We liked it very much indeed.

      I made a half recipe using ground lamb, which you mix with finely chopped onion (I used shallot), parsley, coriander (didn't have any), cinnamon, cumin and ground ginger. You knead it all together and then form the meatballs and drop them in a sauce made with tomatoes, hot peppers, parsley, cumin, cinnamon and cayenne. Add water to cover and simmer for 20 minutes or so until the meatballs are tender and the sauce is thickened.

      We served with brown basmati rice and thought this delicious, with a nice level of spice (although I halved the recipe I kept the spice levels the same). Mr gg raved, but then after 4 days of hospital food anything would have tasted good! Next time I would mix it all in the food processor, as it says a few pages earlier in the introduction to the minced meat dishes. I didn't read that until I was halfway through making the dish!

      3 Replies
      1. re: greedygirl

        First of all, glad to hear that Mr. GG is home from the hospital.

        Second, in rereading some of the posts from the Arabesque month, I've noticed that a lot of the reports suggest doubling the spices. I plan to do so in most of the things I make, since I tend to like this spicy. Has anyone else who has cooked more from these books noticed that this might be necessary?

        1. re: LulusMom

          I think it might be true with this book too. I made kibbeh (stuffed fried one) and the spice level was really low.

          1. re: cpw

            Really? I've also made TNBoMEF's kibbeh and don't remember it being low in spice count.

      2. Djaj fil Forn (Roast Chicken with Lemon and Garlic), Pg. 213
        This from the Poultry chapter...I see no other place to put it.

        Roast chicken is on a regular rotation in our house for its easy prep and delicious finish. This recipe is no exception. I usually don't put oil on the skin, but I followed the recipe exactly and the result was full of flavor, juicy, and yes, crispy skin.

        We used a 3 1/2 lb organic free range chicken from the farm, EVOO, lemon juice, S & P, and 4 cloves of crushed garlic. The oil, juice, garlic, s & p are mixed together and rubbed all over the chicken. Into a preheated 350F oven it goes breast side down in the roasting pan. I used a v-rack as I usually do. Half-way through roasting the chicken is turned breast side up. In all the chicken cooked for 1 1/2 hours.

        I served it on a grilled slice of freshly made country bread with a mixed green salad along side. Scrumptious! BTW: This is an Egyptian recipe.

        18 Replies
        1. re: Gio

          Gio, that recipe caught my eye also, but there was no way I was going to turn the oven on for 1.5 hours. So, from the same page, last night it was:

          Chicken Sofrito (Pg. 213)

          This recipe is essentially for braising a whole chicken stove-top in a liquid made from vegetable oil, lemon juice, water, turmeric, cracked cardomom pods, salt and white pepper. Roden calls for 1/2 to 1 lemon for the juice. I only had a half in the fridge so used that, but I wish I had used more. Also, I used 3 very large, bone-in and skin-on breasts.

          Roden also says that this may be served hot or as part of a cold buffet or family meal. I served it hot, and was somewhat disappointed as it was a bit bland. Couldn't taste the cardamom at all. However, the meat was "soft and tender" as promised. But, before posting this, I tried a bite of it cold, and guess what? Much improved! Quite delicious, actually. But I still can't taste the cardomom....it is also, sufficiently lemony tasting when cold.

          1. re: clamscasino

            I have the Sofrito on my list too, Clams. Wonder what happened with the cardamon. I like that flavor. Our kitchen is cool so having the oven on wasn't an issue.

            1. re: Gio

              Hmmm, well maybe I didn't "crack" the pods enough. Or maybe the problem was that I used white cardomom, as that's all I have. I haven't had the book long enough to read the introduction, so perhaps some other color cardamom should be used?

              1. re: clamscasino

                From what I've read white cardamon pods are bleached but I don't know it that impairs their flavor. Both black (aka brown) and green cardamon pods are available and it's best to buy the whole pods because ground cardamom loses flavor rapidly. In India the whole pods are fried before being added to a dish. I really can't remember what the recipe said about prepping the pods for the Sofrito. though.

                ETA: In the book Ms Roden states we can use either whole or ground cardamon, and white, brown or green. Now _I'm_ confused.

          2. re: Gio

            Gio: We are having a much needed Indian summer here (after a lousy August). A couple of people are coming for lunch tomorrow to visit the patient - do you think this would work on the Weber (I'm thinking I'd probably spatchcock the chicken)?

            1. re: greedygirl

              Hi GG.. actually, I Do think it would work. After all, those ingredients are applicable to almost any method of cooking. Perhaps marinate the chicken for a bit...??

              Hope the recuperation is going along well.

              1. re: Gio

                Thanks Gio. Recuperation is going fine and leg has stopped doing its impression of a lava lamp. Prognosis is excellent - I am getting fed up of nursing duties though!

            2. re: Gio

              You are right. This thread should include Poultry, but I can't edit the original. Guess I missed a chapter. So sorry...

              1. re: smtucker

                We've edited the title for you to include poultry. Happy cooking!

                1. re: The Chowhound Team

                  @smtucker: no apologies necessary...I just tucked the report between the seafood and meat chapters where it appears in the book.
                  @TCT: Many thanks!

              2. re: Gio

                Well this recipe doesn't appear to be in my book, strangely. However, there is one for grilled chicken using a similar marinade so I'm going to try that. I will report back anon.

                1. re: greedygirl

                  That's odd, isn't it? Why wouldn't that recipe be in your book? Different edition?

                  1. re: Gio

                    Must be, I guess. Mine is a Penguin one.

                    1. re: greedygirl

                      greedygirl, is yours the New Book, or just the Book of Middle Eastern Food? I know Roden re-edited, added and subtracted for TNB (according to her introduction). But if you have TNB, it seems odd there would be such an omission in the UK edition.

                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                        It's the New Book of Middle Eastern Food. Have checked again, and this recipe is does not seem to be in my edition.

                2. re: Gio

                  I made the Djaj fil Forn (Roast Chicken with Lemon and Garlic), Pg. 213 last night. I'm very devoted to Barbara Kafka's high heat method for roasting chicken but always open to finding a better/different way. This was really simple to prepare, flavors was great, meat was very flavorful and moist throughout. So, all in all a success. That said, I missed the crackling skin of the high-heat method, so i might combine the two next time (lemon garlic rub/high heat cooking) and see how that goes. It's funny, garlic, lemon, salt & pepper is pretty standard chicken seasoning, but somehow knowing that it's an Egyptian standard made it feel more exotic. I served it with Israeli couscous and a Greek salad. Tasty meal.

                  1. re: balabanian

                    Djaj fil Forn Variation #2, pg 213

                    I made the basic recipe a couple of weeks ago and was very impressed with it's ease of preparation and delicious results. Sunday afternoon found me busy making home-made chili sauce to can so an easy peasy dinner was in order. I did variation #2 which just calls for adding 2 teaspoons of cumin to the original rub/marinade. We enjoyed it very much. The Chowpup garnished her serving with the warm chili sauce and declared it delicious!

                  2. re: Gio

                    Djaj fil Forn (Roast Chicken with Lemon and Garlic), page 213

                    My turn to make this easy roast chicken. I roasted a 5 pound chicken with a half a lemon in the cavity. I almost forgot to flip it so it ended up a bit splotchy. Still tasted good though - lemony, garlicky, and juicy.

                     
                  3. Meatballs with Eggplant Sauce pg 263

                    Yesterday a client brought 1 lb of eggplants from her garden to a meeting. These eggplant were of the long, skinny, Japanese variety. I gave my DH a choice of four options from the tNBoEF and this is what he chose.

                    First step is to roast the eggplant. I used the broiler method which took almost no time at all. You then chop and mash the eggplant into a colander to drain. [My favorite Greek cookbook always removes the seed pods, but Roden doesn't mention this. I did, however remove the really large and mature ones.]

                    I bought a leg of lamb and ground the 1 1/2 lbs required and mixed as directed. Since she doesn't specify how much salt, I did a small tester patty. I ended up using about 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt. I cooked the meatballs, and then began the sauce in the same pan even though she specifies two pans.

                    The sauce required my first adjustment. The recipe calls for 2 lbs of eggplant. I had 1, so I reduced all the ingredients by half, maybe. I used a small onion from a local farm, and my ripest tomato from my own garden which was pretty large. I think calling this a sauce is a bit of a misnomer. You cook everything until there is no more liquid, and then added the cooked meatballs to simmer. So I would consider this a ragu.

                    The meatballs really need to sauce to be complete. The meatballs are only flavored with cumin, allspice, salt and pepper, while the sauce has onions, garlic, tomato and eggplant. The flavor is really subtle, and after the initial "mouth surprise" we both really enjoyed this dish. The ragu could easily be served without the meatballs and would make a fabulous vegetarian/vegan entree.

                    I didn't add all the of the meatballs to the ragu since it was just two of us. We consumed 1/4 of the meatballs to a 1/2 recipe of ragu which we thought was a perfect balance of meat to vegetable. Each meatball was just less than a tablespoon and the recipe yielded 33 meatballs.

                    Served over Plain Bulgar Pilaf page 367.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: smtucker

                      Meatballs with Eggplant Sauce pg 263

                      I really, really liked this. I had a ton of eggplants and tomatoes and more on the way so I thought I better use some up. I debated between this, the meatballs in tomato sauce or the lamb stew with eggplant sauce and went with this because I could use up more vegetables and had ground lamb in the freezer.

                      Taking into account smtucker's observations, I made some tweaks. I used more than the two lbs of eggplants (maybe 2 1/2 - 3 lbs) and also used two large tomatoes to balance the eggplant. I also find with many recipes, for vegetables, the serves 4, will serve the two of us. Also, I only had 1 lb of ground lamb so I only used one egg (v. 2) but kept the spice level the same.

                      This was delicious. The eggplant sauce had so much flavor in it. It was thick but the meatballs became ensconced in the sauce itself. I also used the same skillet that I fried the meatballs for the sauce. There were all these lovely brown bits that I couldn't bare to waste. So, when I fried the onions, I scraped all those bits up. It made the sauce incredibly flavorful.

                      With my 1 lb of ground lamb, I got about 32 meatballs. Before cooking, they were a little smaller than a tablespoon. They shrunk up to teaspoon size.

                      I served this over tomato bulgar and beets with yogurt.

                    2. Grilled chicken, p228

                      Marinate chicken in the juice of 1 lemon, half an onion, chopped and crushed to release the juices, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, EVOO and S&P.

                      I spatchcocked my chicken and left it in the marinade for a couple of hours before cooking on my Weber BBQ. It was really good and four of us polished off the whole lot - not a scrap left!

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: greedygirl

                        Curiouser and curiouser. This grilled chicken recipe does not appear in the US-published Knopf edition. Seems like it and the roast chicken with lemon and garlic Gio reported above. Other than the cooking method, the differences seem to be the onion and more lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon vs. a half) in this version.

                        The edition I have is from 2000, and the info on the copyright page says: "Originally published in Great Britain in 1968 by Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd., London, and in 1972 in slightly different form in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. A previous revised edition was published in Great Britain by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd., in London, in 1985."

                        I'm now assuming you have the 1985 Viking/Penguin one, GG; perhaps she revised further before publishing the 2000 Knopf edition.

                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                          FWIW: I have the 2000 edition published by Alfred A. Knopf. I have he same edition as Caitlin complete with the paragraph she quoted.

                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                            This is the edition that I am using as well if that matters.

                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                              greedygirl reported in the dessert thread about the famous orange and almond cake (same as was popularized by Nigella Lawson), which is not in the Knopf 2000 edition, so Roden really did more revision between the two.

                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                Oh no! I'm distressed by the idea that she subtracted between the two editions...

                                ~TDQ

                              2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                Yep, it's the 1985 Penguin one I have. Strange that there should be differences in the UK and US editions.