Thursday, August 16, 2012

Weeknight Lebanese

Don't be scared. You CAN make homemade Lebanese food. This example is basically a meat and rice dish.  I read the directions to all three recipes and decided to tackle the pilaf first since it takes the longest to cook. But it's EASY!!!


Your chopped veggies...

Broth and paste added...

Bringing it to a boil...

Adding bulgar and boiling again...

After sitting, covered for 45 minutes:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup bulgur 
Heat the olive oil in a medium pan.  Add onion and pepper and sautee for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add broth, salt, and tomato paste and stir to combine. Duh! Bring to a boil. Add bulgur and return to a boil. As soon as it starts boiling again, remove from heat and cover.
Let the bulgur absorb the liquid for 45 minutes WITHOUT lifting the cover. After 45 minutes, the bulgur is ready.

Now make the garlic whip. A total pain in my ass, but it really made the dish. Oh and I cheated. I had some leftover cooked potato from this recipe. 

  • 1 head of garlic, mashed into a paste (use half of a head or a few cloves to reduce the spice)
  • 2 tbsp of Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp of Mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Yukon Gold potato, peeled, cubed
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
Begin by breaking down your garlic into cloves.  Add the cloves to your mini food processor--I use this one.--probably my most undervalued kitchen appliance. Add the salt and process.  At this point add your leftover potato like I did and all the other stuff and process, or you can follow these steps:

Add your potatoes to a small pot of water, and bring to a boil. Cook until fork tender, roughly 15 minutes. During this time, cut up your garlic, and keep cutting, until you have made a paste. Add a bit of salt during the process to help make the paste. Pain in your ass, right?, but it is important that you keep using your knife to get it to a paste, almost the texture of a mashed potato.
This step made me afraid I was going to burn it: When the potato is tender, strain, and return them back to the stove, cooking on medium heat until all of the moisture is cooked out of the potato. Set aside, and let cool.
Once they are cooled, add them to a small bowl, along with the garlic paste, and mash them together with two forks. You now want a mashed potato looking mixture. Add the mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Mix well.

And finally the Kofte.

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2c panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 capful of this or chop 1/2 of an onion. I was tired at this point.
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp cinammon
  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 375°C. Oil your baking sheet or use foil.
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and knead with your hands until well combined.
Shape tightly packed meatballs into ovals. Place on the baking sheet. Place sheet on middle rack. Pour about a 1/2cup of water around the meat so they can steam. Bake for 20 minutes.

Dinner is ready!

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