Chicken loaf with cranberries and pistachios (Rosto)

This loaf is made in  traditional Lebanese homes with extra-lean  ground veal or beef and usually stuffed with carrot sticks or hard-boiled eggs. Seared in fat and simmered slowly in a vinegar sauce.

My aunt Wadad is 88 years-young; about four feet tall and eighty pounds or so, she has a commanding and blunt tone of voice; her statements are definitive and imperious. She would make General Patton (or Petreaus, for a more contemporary version) answer to her ” Yes, ma’am, whatever you say, ma’am”.

She, as I recalled, used to make this traditional dish very well and quite frequently. I felt a lot of trepidation when I approached her recently with my request for her recipe and a promise that she would be given ample credit on my blog.

Her response was cut and dry: ” I have never made this dish; and this is my final answer“.

Yes, ma’am.

So this is  a personal interpretation of a traditional dish, which I will make  once I get the recipe elsewhere.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 pounds of chicken breasts, deboned
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1 cup of peeled pistachios ( and some pine nuts if desired)
  • 1 cup of sparkling cider
  • 1 teaspoon of dry mustard
  • 1/2 cup of ghee

Spices for the chicken loaf: salt, black pepper, red Aleppo  pepper, cinnamon: use one teaspoon of each.

METHOD:

  1. Rub the chicken breasts with a cut lemon. Cut into chunks and place in the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Add the 2 eggs, the spices, and process continuously until the mixture is pasty; add a few large spoonfuls of ghee; add the cranberries and the pistachios and pine nuts (if using).
  3. Grease a large piece of aluminum foil and place the chicken mixture onto it and form into a loaf; (or grease a loaf pan and place the chicken in it. Cover and freeze for a few minutes till a bit firmer.
  4. In a large pot, heat some olive oil and brown the chicken loaf on all sides. Splash with a cup or so of sparkling cider and a teaspoon of dry mustard. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until the loaf is fully cooked.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature, spooning some of the sauce on it.

NOTE: Soaking the pistachios and pine nuts is a good idea to clean them and remove the skins. It is also recommended as healthier. The can of ghee is produced in Holland and is of good quality. I would replace it with more egg yolks (about two) if you prefer, otherwise the loaf will be too dry.


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30 Comments

  1. Posted October 27, 2010 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    This looks fantastic, Joumana! I can’t help but think of Christmas when I see it, actually, with the cranberries and pistachios. Not the point, I know, but it’s the color scheme that’s doing it. :P

    This is definitely the most interesting “meat loaf” I’ve ever seen! Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. Posted October 28, 2010 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    We make beef loaf with eggs as well. I like your version. Chicken is my favorite and lighter than beef. I am sure pistachios and nuts add a great deal to its flavor.

  3. Posted October 28, 2010 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    Don’t mess with Texas or aunt Wadad! You are too funny!

  4. Posted October 28, 2010 at 2:52 am | Permalink

    That looks really delicious! A wonderful dish.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  5. Posted October 28, 2010 at 3:55 am | Permalink

    Wow wat a delicious and awesome looking chicken loaf..

  6. Posted October 28, 2010 at 4:09 am | Permalink

    Looks so yummy! Would love to try your recipe!!

  7. Posted October 28, 2010 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Your aunt sounds fabulous! Are there still women like her now-a-days? And this chicken loaf is stunning! Wow! I love it and I love the addition of sweet, tangy cranberries and nutty, crunchy pistachios. A fabulous recipe!

  8. Posted October 28, 2010 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    You share the same word “rosto” with a roast veal/beef dish from the island of Naxos! The similarity ends there but your rosto reminds me of chicken terrines with pistachios. That mosaic look inside your chicken looks delightful.

  9. Travelbug
    Posted October 28, 2010 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    That looks awesome, all your recipes are brilliant.
    you can make ghee at home with butter, by just heating it to a boil, in a thick bottom pot and then turn the heat on low till the foam (all the milk protien) burns off.
    Strain into a glass jar to cool.
    Thanks

  10. Posted October 28, 2010 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Absolutely gorgeous… you have the cutest aunt! – sight unseen! Mother’s side, or father’s? Sounds like the father’s side…. not that is matters, but it is peculiar how reading one gets a sense of a reality that may or may not exist.
    :)
    Valerie

  11. Posted October 28, 2010 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I really like this recipe and the inclusion of cranberries and pistachios. Funny re your aunt’s comment.

  12. Posted October 28, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    What an interesting dish! I’m trying to imagine the flavor…it reminds me a bit of deli meat but I don’t think it would taste like that. Hmmm, I guess I’ll have to make it for myself and see! ;)

  13. Posted October 28, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    This looks wonderfully delicious! The addition of pistachios and cranberries makes the chick loaf look simply gorgeous.
    I like your aunt. :-))

  14. Posted October 28, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    I just cannot wait to make this and the artichokes too: as soon as i move into my own flat I shall go out shopping and get cooking. Thanks again for posting such treasures:)

  15. Posted October 28, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Looks absolutely delicious and yummy!
    I have an award for you. Please check out my blog :)

  16. SYLVIA
    Posted October 29, 2010 at 2:26 am | Permalink

    This is a very striking recipe, laced with cranberries and pistachios, this chicken loaf stands out from the pack during holiday entertaining, guests already on their way, definite addition to my menu. Mom makes it as well with ground beef pistachios, pine nuts, and spices and it’s always a hit. I’ve always wanted to make it with poultry but hesitated, thanks to you now I am able to, Bravo Joumana,

  17. Posted October 29, 2010 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    Nice combination of flavors… cranberries are perfect for this time of year. Please check out my blog. I am crowning you with an award.

  18. Posted October 29, 2010 at 2:44 am | Permalink

    it looks interesting and yummy:)
    i was in lubenon last month , i loved there ,people and food:)

  19. Posted October 29, 2010 at 4:11 am | Permalink

    beautifull and perfectly done..

  20. Posted October 29, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I have never seen a chicken loaf that looked anything like this. I guess it’s kind of like a terrine? Anyway love the pistachios and cranberries in it. So seasonally delicious.

  21. Posted October 29, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Looks Fab!
    What kind of pepper is the red pepper in the recipe-sweet, spicy, etc?
    Thanks,
    Doc

  22. Posted October 29, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    I just made a wonderful chicken roll stuffed with pistachios and currents and mastic this week… so very good. I am in the market for more recipes with this flavor… this looks like a good one!

  23. Joumana
    Posted October 29, 2010 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Doc, the red pepper is called Aleppo red pepper and sold in mid-eastern stores; it would be like a type of red chili pepper, dried and ground into a powder.

  24. Posted October 30, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    I think this looks delicious! Love hearing about your Aunt Wadad. I grew up with an aunt just like that.

  25. Posted October 31, 2010 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    The texture reminds me of the Swiss fleischkaese, which makes me think it would make the most delicious sandwiches.

    Sometimes when I ask my mum for recipes that I remember from my childhood, she claims not to know what I am talking about. It’s very strange!

  26. Posted October 31, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    i’m so used to eating meatloaf made with beef, i’m surprised i’ve never considered using chicken–awesome!

  27. Posted October 31, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    ROTFL your aunt must have been related to my dad’s mum. She sounds like quite the character. The meatloaf is interesting and my fingers are crossed that you can hunt down an original recipe.

  28. Posted November 1, 2010 at 12:49 am | Permalink

    What a good idea for something very different to eat for the family. Your aunt sounds quite a character. I sort of make up a picture in my mind what she looks like and what yor reaction was when she said that. Lovely!!

  29. Posted November 1, 2010 at 2:40 am | Permalink

    très originale cette recette, je note pour la reproduire dès que j’aurai une minute suis sûre que les enfants vont aimer

  30. Posted November 4, 2010 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    This is such a wonderful recipe. I love the chicken breast stuffed with pistachios and cream in the turkish restaurant we visit. I am going to try this out. Thanks to you and your aunt.

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