Tag Archives: lamb

Jordan…

Monday, July 15 –

I’m late on this post. I know it. SUPER late, really. To tell you the truth, I lost my mojo for this project somewhere along the last few weeks. I’m trying to get it back, but it’s a struggle. So here’s this one, and I will try my best to get back on photo(25)board with it…

This dinner was just BestestFianceEver and me, but we were hoping to have yummy leftovers for lunch. So we took a pound of ground lamb, one onion finely chopped, some garlic, some spices, an egg, and a grated carrot and mixed it altogether. It ended up being super, extra oniony – but that’s ok because we love onion. I made them into round-ish patties instead of balls because they tend to cook faster and more evenly on the stove. Then I threw them onto a hot pan that had a little coating of oil.

While those were cooking I started on the sauce. And I have to ask – how do you boil two teaspoons of water for several minutes? I have no idea. So I put two teaspoons of water into a coffee mug, put the saffron threads in with it, covered it with plastic wrap and microwaved it for three minutes. That was about as close as I knew how to pull that off. I took the wrap off and put the rest of the ingredients in and ended up doubling the lemon (so one whole lemon, juiced) and extra parsley.

BestestFianceEver made rice and a salad (yes, a salad – it was hot outside and it sounded good). Once the meat was done cooking we were good to go for dinner. The meatballs ended up super crumbly because of the meat-to-onion ratio, but the flavor was good. The sauce was still a little tasteless but it went pretty well with the caraway seeds in the meat. All in all this dinner gets a thumbs up.

Jordan
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: http://khanapakana.com)

Jordanian Meat Balls

  • Lean Minced Lamb or Mutton 350 gm
  • Small Onion finely chopped 1
  • Garlic 1 clove
  • Fresh Thyme 1 tsp
  • Caraway Seeds 1/2 tsp
  • Paprika 1/2 tsp
  • Egg 1
  • Salt to taste
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • All Spice Powder 1/4 tsp
  • Carrot Grated 1/2
  • Oil as required for grilling

For the sauce:

  • Saffron Threads a few
  • Boiling Water 2 tsp
  • Fresh Parsley 2 tbsp
  • Lemon 1/2
  • Yogurt Unsweetened 1 cup
  • Salt to taste

Cooking Directions:      In a bowl mix the lamb mince, onion, garlic, thyme, caraway seeds, all spice powder, grated carrot, paprika, salt and black pepper along with the egg.    Mix well to combine.    Shape the mixture into approximately 16 balls and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.    Soak the skewers in cold water.    Carefully thread the meatballs onto the skewers and grill on a well greased grill either charcoal or a grill pan and cook for about 10-15 minutes until meat is cooked through making sure to rotate the skewers whilst cooking.    For the sauce soak the saffron threads in the boiling water for about 10 minutes with a pinch of sugar, stirring occasionally.    Add 2 tbsp chopped parsley and the rind of 1/2 lemon along with the yogurt to the saffron and soaking water.    Transfer it all into a small bowl for serving.    Serve the ready meatballs with the sauce, lemon wedges and sprinkle with some more caraway seeds and fresh parsley.

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Iraq…

Friday, April 26 –

This dinner was almost perfectly made for four people. We had WingWoman, LightsOn, BestestFianceEver, and yours truly.

I started by chopping the prunes and apricots up, putting them in a bowl, covering them with water, and leaving them on the counter for about three hours. Then I took chicken thighs, removed the skin, and fried photo(3)them in hot oil until they were browned on both sides. Then I put the drained prunes and apricots in a glass baking dish and pushed them to the sides. I added the chicken thighs in the middle. Then I fried the onion and garlic in the leftover oil and chicken bits, adding the spices, broth, honey, and cornstarch/lemon juice mixture after the onions were soft and brown. Stirring well to mix in the cornstarch and to scrape off the last chicken bits, I let the liquid boil for a few minutes. After I was sure it was all hot and mixed together I poured the liquid and onions over the top of the chicken, apricots, and prunes. Covered with foil and into a 350* oven for 30 minutes. Sprinkled with sliced almonds and served for dinner.

LightsOn made the filling for a dish that is lamb, onion, and spices cooked until done and then shoved into hand-rolled pockets of rice-dough stuff. Then we fried the rice pockets. It was extremely sticky/messy/hilarious. But the recipe we used didn’t have much flavor to it, so it turned into a way to soak up the sauce from the tagine.

Iraq
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.epicurious.com)

Chicken and Prune Tagine

  • 4 oz Prunes
  • 4 oz Dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup Toasted split almonds
  • 3 tbl Extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 Portions chicken
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 20 Grinds black pepper
  • 1 lrg Onion
  • 2 Cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp Ground turmeric
  • 3 Cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp Ground ginger
  • 2 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 cup Chicken stock or half stock, half white wine
  • 1 tbl Honey
  • 2 tsp Cornstarch
  • 2 tsp Lemon juice or water

Cooking Instructions:  Several hours in advance or overnight, soak the dried fruit in water to cover. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Fry the almonds in the hot oil over moderate heat until golden brown, then drain on paper towels and reserve. Remove the skin and any visible fat from the chicken portions, thoroughly dry them, then season with the salt and pepper. Fry the chicken in the hot oil until rich brown on all sides, then lift out and drain on paper towels to remove any surplus fat. Lay the pieces side by side in a lidded casserole and surround with the drained fruit. In the same oil gently sauté the finely chopped onion and garlic until they turn a rich golden brown (keep the pan lid on for 5 minutes to soften them in the steam, and then remove it to finish the browning). Add the spices and stock and honey. Stir well to release any crispy bits adhering to the base of the pan, then bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch mixed with the lemon juice (or water, if wine has been used). Pour over the chicken. Cover and bake for 1 hour, or until tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Do not overcook as the chicken will soften during the reheating. Garnish the dish with the fried almonds.


Iran…

Friday, April 19 –

It was raining like crazy on Friday, and this dinner was just BestestFianceEver and me, so really, we didn’t have to make a big production out of it. Instead of grilling the meat we just put it in the marinade with photochopped tomatoes and onions, let it sit for a few hours, then baked it for a short amount of time on a high heat (leaving the middle of the meat a little bit pink). Served with rice and the spinach yogurt sauce, it was a simple, easy to make dinner. The spinach dip I cheated on measuring anything and just used a big handful of spinach, with a quarter of an onion, a couple of spoonfuls of yogurt, a few chopped garlic cloves, and some salt and pepper. Once mixed I put it in the fridge to sit until the meat was ready. Dinner was served! Thanks to BestestFianceEver with the help on the marinade and dishes (as always).

The lamb was tender, but didn’t have much flavor. I would have liked more punch out of the sauce. The spinach yogurt mix went well with the rice and lamb in one big forkful. I thought that all-in-all it went well, it just needed a little bit more kick. (But really, I usually always think that!)

Iran
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.iranchamber.com)

Kabab Barg (lamb kebabs)

  • 800 grams boneless lamb
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 large grated onions
  • 1 clove of garlic (crushed)
  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sumac (optional)

Directions:

Prepare marinade: combine olive oil, lime juice, onions, garlic, saffron, salt and black pepper. Cut lamb into 1 cm thick and 4-5 cm long pieces. Do not remove all the fat as you will need it to melt. Marinate overnight (preferably 24 hours) in refrigerator. Container should be covered.

Thread lamb on long, thin metal skewers. Thread whole tomatoes separately on another skewer. Brush with marinade. Barbeque for about 5 minutes on each side, turning frequently. Serve hot with plain rice (Polow or Chelow) or on middle-eastern bread. If served with rice, some sumac may be sprinkled on.

Borani Esfenaaj (spinach yogurt dip)

  • 1 kg fresh spinach
  • 250 grams yogurt
  • 2 onions (thinly sliced)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:  Wash spinach and cut into small pieces. Fry onions and garlic in oil until slightly golden. Add spinach and fry together over medium heat until cooked. Let it cool down completely in the refrigerator. Add salt and pepper to yogurt to taste and beat the yogurt until. Add spinach to yogurt and mix well. The mix should be thick and homogeneous. Now this tasteful side-dish is ready to serve.


Indonesia…

Wednesday, April 11 –

Did I mention that I am not very good at measuring spices and sauces and stuff? This dinner was a prime example of that, in the best way possible. I took the recipes below and made them me-ified. I will try to photo(9)recreate for you what we did. Thank you to WingWoman and LightsOn for hosting and grilling this amazing dinner!

Chicken – I cut two breasts into thin strips so that they cook evenly and quickly (no one likes raw chicken). The marinade was coconut milk (about a tablespoon), water (about 1/8 of a cup), red curry paste (about two tablespoons), and brown sugar (about 1-1/2 tablespoons).

Shrimp – WingWoman thawed them and put them in the marinade. Fortunately they were already shelled and cleaned. The marinade was tamari, honey, sriracha, garlic, and sweet WingWoman love.

Lamb – I used cubed stewing lamb meat. The marinade was Ketjap Mani (Indonesian sweet soy sauce, about half a cup), garlic (two chopped cloves), ginger (grated root, length of about an inch), brown sugar (about a tablespoon), and lemon juice (half a lemon).

Veggies – I used bell pepper, onion, zucchini, and mushrooms. The marinade was tamari (I just poured and stirred the veggies until it looked right), hot chili paste (about three tablespoons), lemon grass (one fresh stalk, chopped), and garlic (three chopped cloves).

Rice – WingWoman put rice, water, coconut milk, red curry paste, and peas in the rice cooker.

Dessert – Fresh mango!

As you can see, it wasn’t very well measured. But goodness, was it good! LightsOn did all of the barbequing and they turned out fabulously. We ate like blog-kings! I think I need this dinner on the menu once a month. Mmmhmm!

Indonesia
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.indochef.com)photo(10)

Indonesian Sate’s

  • 500 gr. of Beef, Pork or Chicken

Marinade:

  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 30 ml Dark Soya sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Grass
  • 1 teaspoon Hot Chilli paste
  • 1 glass red wine (optional)
  • 30 ml water

Preparation:  Dice the meat in to 2 cm square cubes and put onto bamboo skewers (about 4 per stick). Combine all the marinade ingredients into a food processor and make into a smooth paste. Poor this over the prepared sate’s and leave to marinade for at least 2 hours. Cook the sate’s on the barbecue or under the grill for 5 -10 min. until done and serve with hot Peanut Sauce.

Babi Kecap

  • 500 gr Tender Pork
  • 1 large Onion
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 3 cm fresh Ginger
  • 30 gr dark sugar
  • ½ cup Ketjap Manis
  • 2 cups Water
  • Lemon juice
  • 1 stock cube
  • Pepper & Salt

Preparation:  Finely dice Onion, Garlic and Ginger. Cut Pork into strips. Add Sugar, Pepper and Salt. Fry in small saucepan until Onion is soft and the pork is dark. Add the Ketjap Manis (sweet Indonesian soya sauce) and water, Lemon juice and stock cube and leave to simmer on a low flame for about 30 min.


India… {Potluck!}

Saturday, April 6 –

There was SO MUCH FOOD. Oh my gosh. We had lamb korma, two types of chicken tikka, matar paneer, raita, gluten-free naan, gluten-free onion fritters, mango lassi, rice, gulab jamun, chutney, samosas, and a potato dish photo(8)that I missed the name of. There was a ton of people and we all ate so well there was much groaning and belly patting. I can’t even tell you how much fun it was to have so many cooks participate. Thank you, again, to everyone that cooked, ate, drank, and participated in the India potluck. Thank you to RubsWithLove and SirVJ for hosting this dinner!

Let me admit that this dinner was hard for me because I was having an allergy attack so bad that I couldn’t smell or taste anything. Ugh. I don’t recommend it. Four allergy pills and an air purifier later, I finally enjoyed the dinner.

I made the matar paneer recipe as it was written (however, I did not really measure the spices very well at all) but when I was all done it just didn’t look like the matar paneer that I was used to at restaurants. So I added coconut milk to it. But that watered down the flavor so much that it didn’t taste like anything other than coconut milk and a spicy-heat punch to the tongue. Not so good. So I kept adding the spices that the recipe called for trying to fix it. That worked… a little bit. I ended up dumping in curry powder and it fixed it just fine. I know I probably shouldn’t have messed with it, but it did not look like the photo – not one bit! In the end it turned out ok. Not my favorite, but ok.

The raita was easy to make and pretty much vanished because of how many spicy dishes we had. I am super glad that I made a double batch. Everything else was so good that I wanted to eat seconds (I didn’t, but I wanted to!). I definitely recommend Indian food as a great potluck idea for parties! Just make sure to have mints on hand after everyone is done eating.

India
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at:  www.sailusfood.com and www.epicurious.com)

Matar Paneer Recipe

  • 1/4 kg paneer – cube and saute in a tsp of ghee till lightly browned
  • small cup fresh green peas
  • 1 large onion, finely chop
  • ginger-green chilli paste (1″ ginger piece+3 green chillis)
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp red chilli pwd
  • pinch of turmeric pwd
  • 1 1/4 tsps coriander pwd
  • 1/2 tsp kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
  • pinch of garam masala pwd
  • 1 tsp Kitchen King masala pwd
  • 1 tsp malai, top of milk
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp oil

1 Heat oil in a cooking vessel, add the onions and sauté, approx 4-5 mts. Add ginger-green chilli paste, coriander pwd, turmeric pwd, red chilli pwd and combine. Add few tbsps water and saute for a mt.
2 Add tomatoes and cook for 4-5 mts. Turn off heat and cool. Make a coarse paste.
3 Return this paste to the vessel, add a cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce flame, add the green peas and cook for 6 mts. Add the paneer and malai and simmer for 7-8 mts. Add salt. Simmer for a few more mts.
4 Stir in malai, garam masala pwd, Kitchen King masala and kasuri methi and combine, cook for a mt. Turn off flame.
5 Let it sit for a while before serving. The gravy thickens, so at the time of serving, add a little milk and combine. Serve hot with rotis or naan.

Traditional Indian Raita

  •     1/2 cup plain yogurt
  •     1/2 cup chopped seeded English hothouse cucumber
  •     2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  •     2 teaspoons chopped green onions
  •     1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  •     1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Preparation: Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Season to taste with salt. Chill raita, covered, until ready to serve.


Georgia…

Sunday, December 2 –

This was one of those dinners that went from four people to fifteen people really, really quickly. Good thing I had already picked a recipe that made a lot of food! We had: BestestFianceEver, Hot Momma (lots of wine), Mr. Hero, photo(5)BabyBear, RamblingMan, WingWoman (gluten-free baklava), LightsOn, ChinUp, MyBuddy (lamb stew), DangerD (plates, cups, rum, coke), CreepShow (Chikhirtma – Fresh Coriander-Onion Soup), Kodiak, RubsWithLove, Sir VJ (dumplings), and yours truly (Chanakhi – Braised Lamb).

The dish I made was extremely simple, so I doubled it to accommodate so many guests. I chopped some eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, onion,and green beans and layered them all into different glass baking dishes. Then I spread out chopped lamb meat, salt, pepper, and (of course, even though it wasn’t in the recipe originally) garlic. I changed the water to chicken broth, hoping that would add more flavor and character. Wrapped in aluminum foil they went into the oven at 325* for an hour, and when checked the potatoes weren’t quite done so I did 20 more minutes at 400*.

On the side I also made a tomato and cucumber salad brightened with lemon, mint, salt, and olive oil. I also made a huge pot of rice for something to scoop the juices onto. The table also had a bowl of cilantro to put on whatever people wanted and the dumplings, sauce, stew, and soup. People dished up as much or as little of each thing as they wanted.

The braised lamb that I made wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t very good either. The veggies were pretty good but the lamb was pretty tough and flavorless when it was done. The dumplings were amazing and the sauce on top was incredible. The tomato salad was a perfect bright spot on the plate. The stew was amazing and flavorful and I instantly wanted more. The soup was… well… loud. The flavors of it were amazing but it had been allowed to sit and get stronger for several hours so when we finally got to eat it, it was very intense. The baklava was about as you expect baklava to be (buttery and nutty), just less flaky.

Overall I would count this dinner as a success, but not one of my favorites. I can’t wait for the Germany potluck on Saturday!

Georgiaphoto(4)
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.russian.recipes-recipies.com)

Chanakhi, Braised Lamb (Georgian manner)

  • 500 g lamb (1+ lb)
  • 750 g potatoes (1 – 2/3 lb)
  • 200 g tomatoes (2/5 lb)
  • 300 g eggplant (2/3 lb)
  • 200 g string beans (2/5 lb)
  • 1 onion
  • Salt, pepper
  • Parsley or kindza (coriander)

Wash the meat and cut into pieces (2 or 3 per portion). If available, use a 2 or 3 liter stoneware casserole. Add finely chopped onion, chunks of potatoes, tomatoes cut in half, string beans from which the strings have been removed, diced eggplant, parsley greens or kindza. Season with salt and pepper. Add two cupful of water. Cover with a lid and bake for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Serve in the casserole.


Gaza Strip…

Friday, November 30 –

Did you miss me? I missed you. I let this blog dinner slide into being about a week late, and I felt guilty the whole time. But I’m all caught up now, I promise!

This dinner was just BestestFianceEver and me and it was wonderful. I started with the stuffed cabbage by prepping all of the veggies, spices, and stuff for the filling. I used somewhere between one cup and one andphoto(3) a half cups of ground lamb – it was one large handful. Then half a chopped onion, half a cup of rice, then two teaspoons of each of the spices. Mixed altogether and let sit while I prepped the cabbage. We only bought a half of a head of green cabbage and we boiled each leaf for a few minutes each until they were pliable. Then I filled them with the meat stuffing, wrapped them as carefully as I could, and set them at the bottom of another pot. BestestFianceEver had the genius idea of using the hot water from boiling the cabbage to pour over the cabbage rolls. I ended up using just over two cups of that water to almost cover a double layer of rolls. I dumped a couple of scoops of chopped garlic over the top and turned the heat on and let it simmer for an hour. (I never did see where the lemon juice in that recipe was supposed to go…)

While we were waiting for that to cook, I chopped a little cucumber, a little tomato, a few leaves of mint, a radish, and a green onion, mixing them altogether. I put on a sprinkle of parsley, a dash of olive oil, and a good squirt of lemon juice. I let that mix marinate together for about a half hour. Then I shredded some lettuce leaves and scooped the tomato mix and set it on top, pouring the juices over the whole as a salad dressing.

To round out the dinner I decided to make baked fried eggplant. Not necessarily a true Gaza Strip recipe, but it kept with the theme and it was less calories than doing true fried eggplant.

When there was only ten minutes left on the cabbage rolls I toasted some pita in the oven next to the eggplant and set the slices on the plates next to the salad mixture. A scoop of sour cream for my plate, a few cabbage rolls for each, and we were ready for dinner!

The salad was a bright, sharp flavor that cut nicely into the cabbage/meat flavor. The cabbage rolls were flavorful and filling. I would definitely make them again.

Gaza Strip
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.webgaza.net)

Fattoush

  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 2 spring onions
  • Lettuce
  • 1 Radish
  • Parsley
  • Green mint
  • 1 loaf of pita bread
  • Dressing: Lemon, salt, and olive oil

Fattoush Preparation: Cut the vegetables into small – medium size pieces. The lettuce, parsley and green mint should be cut in small pieces. Cut the pita bread into squares of 1 square cm each and either fry them until golden brown or roast them under the grill. Add the bread to the vegetable mixture. Add lemon, salt, and olive oil to taste.

Malfouf – Stuffed Cabbage

  • Medium Cabbage
  • 1 ½ cups ground lamb
  • 1 medium diced onion
  • 1 cup short grain rice
  • Garlic, you need few whole garlic cloves peeled and some minced.
  • Optional, you may use whole head of garlic with the peel in between the layers
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons of the following spices: Cumin, Caraway, Coriander, Cinnamon, Salt and Black Pepper. You may all the above spices or omit whichever you do not like to use.
  • Cooking oil
  • 1 cup Lemon juice
  • 1 cup water or as needed

Preparation:     Wash and drain rice.    Mix up the ground meat, diced onions and rice; add cooking oil and the spices (Cumin, Caraway, Coriander, Salt and Black Pepper) set aside.    Prepare your cabbage leaves by separating the leaves from the cabbage head. Cut away stems, save them and use them at the bottom of the pot.    Boil the leaves a few at a time in boiling salted water until they are soft enough to roll.    Prepare stuffing of meat, rice, salt, pepper and the above spices.    Cut the leaves to form a cigar size roll. Place stuffing on each leaf, fold sides toward center and roll up from bottom into a cigar shape (similar with stuffed vine leaves). Do not over stuff; make sure that you have space for the rice to expand inside the cabbage rolls.    Press together firmly. Place layer of the saved stems.    Place the whole garlic heads in between the rolled Malfouf.    Sprinkle with salt, caraway and cumin in between layers. Add water, boil then simmer for an hour to an hour and a half. Half way through the cooking time add crushed garlic on to. Let simmer. Simmer gently until rice is tender in barely enough water to cover. Invert your pot in a platter.    You may serve this dish hot or at room temperature, depends on your personal taste.