17 April 2016, Cairo, Egypt – Is salâm ‘alaykum. Our world tour takes us to the Middle East. Most ingredients we purchased at Ali Baba International food Market in San Antonio (what a cool experience!)
Today’s menu: Babaganoush, Couscous with Currants and Cumin, Grilled Spiced Lamb with Vegetable Ragout, and WalnutNazook. Bil hana wish shifa!
(The distance between Cairo, Egypt and New Braunfels, Texas is about 7,140 miles.)
Couscous with Currants and Cumin
Serves 2; Preparation time: 30 minutes; Cooking time: 10 minutes
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup couscous
- 1/3 cup currants
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 small onion, chopped finely
- 1 medium garlic glove, minced
- 1-1/2 teaspoon frech ginger, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted
- zest of 1 small orange, grated
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
- red pepper flakes
Bring water to boil in saucepan. Stir in couscous and currants. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat, add onion, garlic, and ginger sautéing until tender, about 4 minutes. Add cumin seeds, sauté for 1 minute. fluff up the couscous, stir in the onion mixture, zest, and cilantro. Add salt and pepper flakes to taste.
(Cairo, capital of Egypt, sits along the Nile River. It is the largest city with a population of 6.75 million and another 10 million residing just outside the city.)
Grilled Spiced Lamb
Serves 2-4; Preparation time: 1 hour; Cooking time: 1 hour
- Spice rub: 1 teaspoon each of fennel seeds and coriander seeds; 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds; 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped; salt and pepper. – Place seeds in a spice grinder and grind into a powder. In a small bowl stir ground seeds with rosemary. Rub on both sides of lamb chops, refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- 4 lamb chops
- 1/2 pint mixed cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium garlic clove, sliced thinly
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 thyme sprigs, each about 2-inches long
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 small shallot, sliced thinly
- 1 cup fresh green peas, shelled
- 3/4 cup fava beans, shelled
- 5 ounces chanterelles, trimmed and quartered
- 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
- 1/2 cup red pearl onions, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 1 cup organic chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh marjoram, chopped
- freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 300* F. In a shallow baking dish mix together the tomatoes with the olive oil, stir in garlic, thyme, vinegar, and shallot. Sprinkle over a pinch of salt and bake until tomatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.
Add peas to a medium sauce pan of boiling salted water. Boil until tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer peas with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Add fava beans to the boiling water until they turn bright green, about 1 minute. Drain and squeeze beans out into bowl with peas.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chanterelles, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. Reduce to medium heat cooking chanterelles until browned and tender, about 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon butter and onions cut-side down cooking until browned, about 4 minutes. Add chicken stock, simmer until onions are tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in peas and favas. Discard bay leaf and thyme sprigs from tomatoes. Add tomatoes to the ragout mixture, combining gently, and cook for 3 minutes. Turn off heat and add mint, tarragon and marjoram. Add 2 tablespoons of butter, one at a time, stirring between each. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat an oiled grill pan over high heat. Grill lamb chops until nicely charred on each side, about 3 minutes per side. Spoon ragout into shallow serving bowl, top with lamb chops.