Shish Taouk, Labaneya, and Assabih bi Loz-Thursday, July 9, 2009

In my haste to finish dinner I did not take photos. I was also too tired to blog about them so now, two days later, I am finally putting up the recipes. The Shish Taouk, or Chicken Kebab, was a success. It was juicy and full of flavor. The Lebaneya , or spinach and yogurt soup, is not something that I will make often. While it tasted fine I was not used to the taste of yogurt in my spinich. The Assabih Bi Loz, or Almond fingers, were also delicious and a success. I prefer eating the almond fingers warm rather than chilled. All of these recipes were taken out of Claudia Roden’s ‘The New book of Middle Eastern Food’.

Shish Taouk (Chicken Kebab)

Serves 4-Grilled chicken on skewers is part of the Arab Kebab-house and restaurant trade. The flavoring here is Lebanese.

4 boned and skinned chicken fillets breasts or legs ( I used skinless, boneless chicken breasts)
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-4 cloves of garlic ( I used only 2 cloves)
Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
Salt and pepper

Of the optional garnishes I used the following
4 tablespoons of chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 of a mild red onion finely sliced

Cut the chicken into 1 inch pieces. Mix the oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and leave the chicken in the marinade for 1/2 hour or longer, turning the pieces over once.

Thread onto flat bladed skewers nad cook over the glowing embers of a charcoal fire or under the broiler for 6-10 minutes, until lightly browned, turning the skewers over once, and brushing iwth the marinade.

Serve on a bed of parsley, with lemon wedges and sliced onion. Sprinkle if you like with sumac (in which case, do not use the lemon wedges).

Labaneya (Spinach soup with yogurt)

Serves 6 this soup is from Egypt

1 pound fresh spinach or frozen leaf spinach, defrosted
1 onion chopped (I used 1/2 of an onion)
about 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil (I did not have any so I did not use it)
3 or 4 scallions, finely chopped (I could not find any in the store so I did not use these either)
1/3 cup of rice
1/4 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
salt and pepper
2 1/4 cups plain whole milk yogurt
1 or 2 cloves garlic, crushed

Wash and drain the fresh spinach.

Saute the onion in the oil in a large saucepan until soft and lightly colored. Add the spinach and put the lid on. Fresh spinach will crumble into a soft mass in a few moments. Cut the cooked fresh or defrosted frozen spinach up coarsely with the pan iwth a pointed knife.

Add the scallions and the rice and pour in 4 1/2 cups water. Add turmeric, if you like it will give the soup a pale yellow tinge and a faint tangy taste.

Season with salt and pepper, and simmer gently for about 18 minutes, until the rice is cooked. It should not be allowed to get too soft or mushy.

Beat the yogurt with the garlic and pour into the soup with the garlic and pour into the soup, beating vigorously. Heat through, but do not let the soup boil, or the yogurt will curdle.

Assabih bi Loz (Almond fingers)

Makes about 30- These are delicate Arab pastries. They are baked normally but fried in North Africa.

2 1/3 cups ground almonds
1/2 cup superfine sugar
3 tablespoons orange blossom water ( I only had orange extract)
1/2 pound fillo-pastry sheets
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
confectioners’ sugar to sprinkle on

When I did these the second time yesterday instead I poured / brushed the remaining butter on top while it baked. Then once they were slightly brown I put powdered sugar in a container and put one in at a time and slowly coated the outside with the sugar. This helped it stay on the pastry.

Mix the ground almonds with the sugar and orange-blossom water.

Cut the sheets of fillo into 4 rectangular strips about 12 by 4 inches and pile them on top of each other so they do not dry out. Brush the top one lightly with melted butter.

Put 1 heaping teaspoon of the almond mixture at one of the short ends of each rectangle, or take a small lump and pres it into a little sausage in your hand. Roll up into a small cigar shape, folding the longer sides slightly over the filling midway.

Place on a buttered baking sheet and bake in a preheated 325F oven for 30 minutes, or until lightly golden.
Serve cold, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.


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