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“.
So this is a personal interpretation of a traditional dish, which I will make once I get the recipe elsewhere.
- 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.
- Rub the chicken breasts with a cut lemon. Cut into chunks and place in the bowl of a food processor.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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