lebanese

Middle Eastern Chicken and Rice – maqlooba

 Chicken and Rice_maqlooba

In the Middle East, there is a traditional way of making maqlooba which means flipped over, loosely translated. It’s basically meat, vegetables and rice cooked separately, then layered in one pot topped with broth and cooked. Then it is allowed to cool, then flipped onto a serving tray and some people top with nuts and/or raisins.

Depending on which region of the Middle East the maqlooba has originated from, the ingredients can vary. This dish is very similar to kabsa, the main difference I see is that maqlooba is flipped and kabsa is layered after it’s cooked (correct me if I’m wrong).

I usually make this dish with eggplant, cauliflower, onion and tomato (in the summer, I’ll probably post that when the time comes). Since it is winter and I am using what I have available to me in my area (and on hand), I am only using carrot as the vegetable and a side of parsley salad which is basically tabouli with no tomato or burgul/bulgar. I have also chosen to top it with nut I have on hand; almond slivers, cashew and pistachio. In the winter a steaming side of broth should be served as well J.

The flavor here comes from the broth, so it’s important to make your own at home, you can use this recipe here. You don’t have to make the whole chicken, just choice cuts with the bone on for this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 4 C boiled chicken (I use the meat from making chicken broth)
  • 2 C basmati or jasmine rice, washed well and drained
  • 4 C homemade chicken broth
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced

*2 Cups optional nuts for topping; almond, pistachio, cashew, walnuts PLUS 1 Tbs. butter for toasting

Instructions:

  1. Get a pot that is about 8 inches in diameter.
  2. First layer the cooked chicken evenly in the bottom of the pot.
  3. Then layer the vegetables evenly on top.
  4. Next, sprinkle the rice evenly and carefully pour the chicken broth all over the rice.
  5. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer on low for about 15 minutes or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid, add more liquid of needed. (Depending on which rice you use, you may need a little more broth and a little more time.)
  6. When it’s done, remove the lid and let it sit on the counter for 20 minutes, then you’re ready to flip it.
  7. To flip the pot, you will need to get a round serving dish or tray with a large lip (I use my glass Pyrex round pan).
  8. Place the serving dish over the top of the pot and quickly turn it over so now the pot is upside-down on the serving dish. Leave this for about 15 minutes or longer to set.
  9. Then, slowly lift the pot off.
  10. You can top with toasted nuts if you’d like.

Serve with a side of broth and a sour salad such as parsley salad, simple salad, or plain yogurt.

How To Make Lebanese Kabsa, a Meat and Rice Dish

Lebanese Kabsa

Kabsa (or kabsi) is a common Lebanon dish served on a big tray, usually presented when guests come over but can also be enjoyed by the family.

This recipe can seem complicated, but if you are prepared it can be simply assembled. This recipe is basically meat (lamb, beef or chicken), bone broth, rice, and toasted nuts (almond, walnut and/or pistachio). Served with either “salsa” (made with tomato, peppers, and carrots), cabbage salad, simple salad or yogurt; the point is to have a sour flavor along with the sweet (if using raisins) and savory flavor.

Ingredients for Meat:

  • 1 Tbs. grass-fed butter, ghee, or grass-fed tallow or lamb fat
  • 2 big cloves of garlic, mashed
  • 1 ½ lb boneless lamb, chicken or beef, cut into big chunks
  • 8 Cups homemade bone broth

Ingredients for Rice:

  • 1 Tbs. grass-fed butter, ghee, or grass-fed tallow or lamb fat
  • 4 whole cardamom or ¼ tsp. ground
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. unrefined salt (or to taste depending on how salty the broth is)
  • 2 Cups basmati or jasmine rice
  • ¼ C golden or black raisins or pitted dates (chopped)

Ingredients for Nuts:

You can either use raw nuts or homemade crispy nuts; made by soaking raw nuts in salt water for about 7 hours, straining and drying in a low set oven or dehydrator.

  • 1 Tbs. grass-fed butter or ghee
  • ¾ C nuts; almond haves or slivers, shelled pistachio and/or broken walnut pieces

Instructions for the Meat:

  1. Melt cooking fat (grass-fed butter, ghee, or grass-fed tallow or lamb fat) and sauté mashed garlic in it.
  2. Once fragrant, about 1 minute, add meat of choice
  3. Cook until there is no longer pink/red.
  4. Drain the fat as best as you can and discard it.
  5. Put the meat and the broth into a pot and bring to a boil, then simmer for about 1-2 hours or until the meat falls apart with a fork.
  6. Keep the meat in the broth until ready to use.

 Instructions for the Rice:

  1. Wash the rice well until the water runs clear, and then strain well.
  2. Melt the cooking fat on low and stir in the cardamom and sauté for about 1 minute.
  3. Add the cinnamon and salt, stir quickly and add the rice.
  4. Turn the heat to med-high and keep stirring the rice until it dries, about 3 minutes.
  5. Next, mix in the raisins.
  6. Then add 4 Cups of broth; take from the broth that the meat is boiling in.
  7. Bring to a boil and make sure all the rice in pushed down in the water.
  8. Then turn down to the lowest setting , cover and leave for 15 minutes.
  9. After 15 minutes, turn off the heat and leave it covered until needed.

Instructions for the Nuts:

  1. Melt the butter or ghee on med-low heat or low depending on your pan.
  2. Add the nuts and sauté until the almonds are turning golden brown.
  3. Scoop with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel to cool off and drain.

To Assemble:

Either on a big tray or in an individual serving bowl, first layer the rice, then meat, then scoop broth over the top to moisten, then generously sprinkle nuts on top.  On the side, serve about a half cup or more of broth to sip and some plain yogurt.

Easy Lebanese Chicken and Potato Stew

Lebanese Chicken and Poatato Stew

This stew can be enjoyed in anytime the weather is cool. In the winter, you can omit the cilantro and add cumin and cayenne to warm the body on this cold days. The potato is nice here as it warms the belly and helps to feel fuller longer. This would also be a great stew to send to school with the kids for lunch in a thermos.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 Tbs. cooking fat – grass-fed butter, ghee, tallow, or coconut oil

 

  • 1 Tbs. cooking fat – grass-fed butter, ghee, tallow, or coconut oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 lb. chicken breast, cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp unrefined salt
  • 1/2 C chopped cilantro + more for garnish
  • 3 C chicken stock , or water (in that case, you will need to add more salt to taste)

Optional:

Add a dash of cumin and/or cayenne to individual servings.

Instructions: 

  1. Saute potatoes in cooking fat until golden, set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, saute garlic in cooking fat until fragrant (about 1 min).
  3. Then add the chicken and salt; stir often until beginning to brown, then add the cilantro and mix well.
  4. Right away add the potato and any drippings from fat if there is any remaining.
  5. Last, add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then turn the heat to a simmer and cover.
  6. When the potatoes are tender, the soup is ready (about 10 minutes).

To serve, garnish individual servings with fresh cilantro, a dash of cumin and cayenne (optional, but the flavor is amazing!)

 

 

 

 

Simple Salad

simple saladtomato and cucumber salad

This is a simple salad that goes well with many dishes and can be adjusted slightly to your taste and texture.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tomato, diced small or bite sized
  • 1/2 small onion, diced small or bite sized
  • 2 small/medium cucumbers, diced small or bite sized
  • 1/2 tsp. unrefined salt, or to taste
  • 2 Tbs. fresh parsley or mint, chopped (or mix both)
  • OR 1 Tsp. dried mint
  • 1-2 Tbs. fresh squeezed lemon juice (taste after adding 1 Tbs. and see if needs more)
  • 1-2 Tbs. EV olive oil (taste after adding 1 Tbs. and see if needs more)

*Since vegetables are various sizes, the salt, lemon juice and olive oil should be used as guidelines, use your taste to guide how much you need.

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and enjoy.

Lebanese Sheppard’s Pie

shepards pie and salad

This is a Middle Eastern dish that is similar to Sheppard’s pie. The main difference is the spice and pine nuts. It goes well with a simple salad, or any salad with lemon/olive oil dressing.

This is borderline Paleo/Primal, depending on who you ask 🙂

Ingredients: 

Outer Layers-

  • 3-4 lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • filtered water or broth, enough to just cover
  • 1 tsp. salt (if needed)
  • 2 Tbs grass-fed butter, ghee, or coconut oil

Filling-

  • 2 Tbs grass-fed butter, ghee, or coconut oil
  • ¼ Cup pine nuts
  • 1 lg. onion, minced
  • 1 lb. ground lamb or beef
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. all spice powder
  • Dash of fresh ground pepper (optional
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (option to add a little kick)

*To make this simple, you can layer each individual serving dish with mashed potato, and then top it with the meat filling. This will keep it simple.

*If you wish to bake it so that it becomes a bit firmer and slightly browned, follow the full instructions.

Instructions:

  1. Place the potato, water (or broth), and salt (if needed) in a pot.
  2. Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium-low. Cover and let simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. When done, remove excess liquid if needed and add 2 Tbs. butter. Mash well and set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  5. While the potato is cooking, melt the butter in a frying pan on medium-low heat.
  6. Then add the pine nuts and stir constantly until golden.
  7. Once golden color is achieved, remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl, leaving the butter in the frying pan. Set aside.
  8. Add the minced onion to the frying pan with butter and sauté until turning golden.
  9. Then add the meat, salt and spices.
  10. Continue to cook until the meat is fully browned.
  11. Add the pine nuts, mix, and remove from heat.

Layering the pan

Choose any shape pan you like that will hold the mashed potato and the filling; 9×13 works well, but I like a round dish.

  1. Butter the pan and layer the bottom with ½ of the mashed potato.
  2. Next, layer the middle with all of the meat mixture.
  3. Then with the other half of the mashed potato, layer the top.