Pumpkin kibbeh pie

November 13, 2020  •  Category: , ,

This pumpkin kibbeh pie is the quintessential village pie, where folks make do with what they have and what their traditions dictate. It appears around Fall when all the farmers display their various pumpkins on the side of the roads, and is also made when fasting is in order.

Growing-up in Beirut I never knew about it, and only discovered it when I moved to the Chouf Mountains and became familiar with the local folks and their cuisine. The traditional filling I have seen used consists of chopped leafy greens such as Swiss chard sautéed in a pan first with onions and some chopped walnuts or chickpeas (walnuts are more expensive so chickpeas are used more frequently); the filling gets doused with sumac which is everywhere in the mountains and gets harvested wild, dried and ground by local folks for their yearly mouneh (pantry supplies). Sumac is used because it adds a nice tangy flavor to the pie. Feel free to use it if you have some or replace it with a squeeze of lemon or lime.

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Chocolate crispy bars

November 10, 2020  •  Category:

I made these one evening to use-up the chocolate bars I had stashed in the pantry. I did not have a recipe, so I just improvised based on an old recipe I had done using tahini. This one is straightforward, just chocolate bars+butter+vanilla+puffed rice.

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Lamb shanks in yogurt sauce

November 7, 2020  •  Category: ,

This dish is called laban emmo. The literal translation is: “his mother’s milk”; it is traditional to make it for New Year, when everything is supposed to be white, to symbolize the new beginning. It is one of my favorite stews.  I love yogurt sauce, creamy and a bit sour, flavored  with cilantro pesto (and mastic sometimes). It is recommended to make this dish over two days, otherwise it will seem very time-consuming. One day for making the lamb stock, the other for making the yogurt sauce and the rice with vermicelli (called ruz besh3ariyyeh). The lamb portion can even be done a week or more beforehand and kept safely in the freezer.

 

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Liver spread

October 28, 2020  •  Category: ,

 

If you are like me, and don’t really care for the taste of liver, this spread will be the ticket for you. By adding cream cheese (or thick labneh, but cream cheese is best), pomegranate molasses and spices, you completely get rid of that “liver” taste. This spread lasts a few days in the fridge and makes a great snack!

I added some new spices I had not used in the past, like chipotle powder (hot) and I liked the result. Feel free to experiment, this recipe is versatile; as long as the onions are browned (first flavor profile), the rest is icing on the liver. The pomegranate molasses can be substituted for honey (a dark one would be best) or maple syrup or a touch of preserve ( jalapeño jelly for instance). Have fun and Sahtein!

 

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