Sugar Free

Three Eritrean Sauces

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Silsi (Spiced Tomato), Ades (Lentil), and Shiro (Smooth Chickpea)

As a gentleman from Eritrea taught Lindsay Sterling in Portland, Maine. 

Notes: He served these three vegetarian sauces on sourdough flatbread called injera. He shared this platter with friends who all ate from it with their hands, using ripped pieces of the flatbread to scoop up sauces into delicious bites. If you can't find injera at an Eritrean/Ethiopian market or store near you or don't want to make your own (it takes 3 days to ferment and is quite tricky), serve these sauces as dips or spreads with sourdough toast.

Before you start this recipe you'll want to make the Eritrean spiced butter, and order berbere spice and shiro powder online. Once you have those and the rest of the ingredients, making these sauces is easy. 

Cooking time: 45 min
Makes: 6 servings as a light meal

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp Eritrean spiced butter (omit this for a vegan or lactose-free version)
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup corn or canola oil
  • 3 Tbsp berbere spice
  • 5 large red tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup shiro powder 
  • 1 cup pink lentils 
  • 4 pieces injera or a loaf of whole wheat sourdough (or gluten free bread as desired)
  • small fresh green chilis for garnish (optional)

Equipment

  • sheet pan/cookie sheet
  • cutting board
  • knife
  • three medium sauce pots
  • blender or food processor
  • spatula
  • wooden spoon

Instructions

1. In a medium sauce pan on medium heat, saute a finely diced onion in 1/2 cup corn or canola oil for about ten minutes, stirring often, until onion is soft. Put the lid on between stirring. 

2. In another medium sauce pot, bring 4 cups water to a boil. Spread lentils on a sheet pan or tray and sort through them with your fingers, removing any non-lentil debris.

3. Rinse lentils, and add them to the heating water. Bring them to a boil, turn heat to medium-low and and continue to simmer until the lentils have softened somewhat but still have a little firmness to them and hold their shape. 

4. To the pot of frying onions, add 3 Tbsp berbere spice and cook another ten minutes, stirring frequently. 

5. Blend tomatoes in blender or food processor until smooth. Add the blended tomatoes to the frying onions along with 2 Tbsp spiced butter. Simmer for five more minutes, stirring frequently, and adding salt to taste. This is the first sauce, spiced tomato, or silsi.

6. In a third pot (small or medium size), bring 2 cups of water to boil.  

7. Once the lentils are half-way cooked, mix in 1 cup of the spiced tomato sauce and continue cooking on medium low until lentils are soft. Taste for seasoning and add salt as desired to finish. This is the lentil sauced called ades.

8. Once the water in the third pot is hot, stir in 3/4 cup spicy red sauce and continue to heat. Once it comes to a boil, turn it to simmer and whisk in 1/2 cup shiro powder. Heat on medium, stirring intermittently until the sauce becomes thickened, and slightly looser than pudding. Turn off heat.

9. Serve Eritrean sauces (spiced tomato, chickpea, and lentil) on injera or with slices of sourdough. Decorate the edges of the injera with small, fresh green chilis. Have extra injera or bread at the table. 

Colombian Chicken and Corn Soup

Ajiaco

As Adelaida Gaviria from Medellin, Columbia (pronounced MedeGEENE) taught Lindsay Sterling in Bowdoinham, Maine.

Note: Adelaida said this dish (pronounced AH hee AH Ko), originated in Bogota, but has come to be a favorite across much of the country.  
Cooking time: 45 min
Makes: 6 servings

Ingredients 

  • 2 bone-in breasts
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 6 large potatoes (she prefers Yukon Gold variety)
  • 2 Tbsp dried guascas, a Columbian herb available at latin markets or online
  • 4 cups chicken broth 
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 3 ears corn on the cob or frozen corn kernels
  • 3 avocados
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1/2 cup cream

Equipment

  • cutting board
  • chef knife
  • paring knife
  • peeler 
  • soup pot
  • tongs or slotted spoon
  • shallow dish for cooling chicken
  • immersion blender or mortar and pestle
  • lettuce spinner (ideally)
  • small bowl for serving capers on the table
  • creamer for serving cream at the table
  • soup bowls and spoons for serving

Instructions

1. Cover chicken with 2 inches of water in a large soup pot on high heat. Add 5 cloves sliced garlic, 2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp black pepper. Once water boils, turn heat down to keep the chicken simmering until it is cooked throughout. Wash hands and any utensils or surfaces that touched raw chicken.

2. While chicken is cooking, peel potatoes, slice them in half, and then into 1/4-inch slices. Wash and chop the cilantro. Put half of it in a small bowl for guests to garnish their soup at the table, and reserve the other half for use in a bit.

3. Once the chicken is cooked (opaque throughout), remove it from broth and put it in a shallow dish to cool. 

4. Use an immersion blender to blend the garlic slices into the broth. If you don't have an immersion blender, scoop out the garlic with a slotted spoon, mash it in a mortar and pestle with a little broth, and whisk that mixture into the broth in the pot. 

5. Add 4 cups of chicken stock to the broth. Rub 2 Tbsp guascas between your hands letting it fall into the pot. Add chopped cilantro. Bring to a simmer and add potato slices.

6. Once chicken is cool enough to the touch, rip it into bite-sized pieces. Discard the bones and add the pulled chicken back to the broth.

7. Once the potato slices are almost cooked, add corn to the soup and simmer another 8 minutes until corn is cooked. Taste the broth and add more salt and pepper if needed.

8. Serve soup in guests' bowls. Top each bowl with 2 quarters of ripe avocado. Invite guests to add capers, cream, and cilantro to their bowls at the table as desired.

 

 

Trinidadian Garbanzo and Potato Curry

As Steve Fortune, from Marabella, Trinidad and Tobago, taught Lindsay Sterling in South Portland, Maine.

Notes: Steve served this 30-minute vegetarian curry with a flaky homemade flatbread, which takes about 2 hours to make. If you don't have time for the flatbread, use store-bought flatbread or serve with rice in a bowl. Steve uses Chief brand curry powder from Trinidad and Tobago: a blend of coriander, cumin, turmeric, fenugreek, fennel, chili pepper, and ajwan. The garbanzos and potatoes would taste great with other varieties of curry as well.

Makes: 4 servings
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, medium dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • about 3 cups water, divided
  • 2 Tbsp curry powder (he used Chief brand from Trinidad and Tobago)
  • 4 large or 8 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced into wedges
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 4-8 pieces of flatbread

Equipment

  • cutting board
  • knife
  • vegetable peeler
  • measuring spoons and cups (or just eye-ball it)
  • medium pot
  • mixing spoon

Instructions

1. In a medium pot on medium high heat, saute onions and garlic in 2 Tbsp oil for about 2 minutes. 

2. Mix 2 Tbsp curry powder with 1 cup water, and pour the mixture into the pot with the onions and garlic.

3. Let the mixture cook until most of the water evaporates and you have a slurry of spices and onions. Add the sliced potatoes. Stir to coat the potatoes with the curry and let cook 2 minutes.

4. Add enough water to almost cover the potatoes, and let cook until potatoes are almost done (soft, but not mushy). 

5. Stir in the garbanzo beans. 

6. Serve with flatbread.

English Popovers

Yorkshire Pudding

As Josephine Morris, from York, England, taught Lindsay Sterling in New Gloucester, ME.

Note: Josephine served these as part of her Sunday dinner, with roast beef, leeks in cheddar sauce, potatoes and gravy. They're also great by themselves for breakfast or brunch with jam and butter. In the U.S., these are called "popovers" because they puff up and pop over the edge of the container when they're cooking.
Makes: 24
Cooking time:  45 min

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups milk
  • 5 small eggs (or 4 large)
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Equipment

  • blender
  • muffin pan(s) for 24 muffins
  • hot pads
  • teaspoon

Instructions

1. Take milk and eggs out of the fridge so they become room temperature.

2. Turn the oven temp up to 425 degrees F.

3. Pour a teaspoon of oil in each hole of the muffin pan and stick the muffin pan in the oven to preheat.

4. In a blender, combine 5 eggs, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 tsp salt and 2 cups milk. Blend until smooth. When blender is stopped, look to see if there are air bubbles showing on the top of the batter. If not, blend a bit more.

5. Remove the hot muffin tin from the oven and pour batter to fill 1/3 of each mold. Put in over.

6. After fifteen minutes and give the pan a turn for even cooking. After five minutes (or when popovers are puffed up and a little golden, turn off oven and open oven door to let popovers cool down gradually (this helps them keep their shape).

Burundian Chicken with Summer Squash and Bell Peppers

Isosi


As Assumpta Karire, from Gitega, Burundi, taught Lindsay Sterling in Portland, Maine.

Serves: 8
Cooking time: 1 hr
Note: The chicken and vegetables are in the photo above in the 6 o'clock position. They are served here with spicy rice called ipilau (at 12 o'clock in the photo), and Burundian spinach (3 o'clock). 

Ingredients

  • 8-12 chicken drumsticks
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 chayote squash
  • 1 onion
  • 1 yellow summer squash
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 + 3 bouillion cubes (she used Maggi brand) or 1 Tbsp Better than Bouillion
  • 2 tsp spice mixture (see below)
  • 1/2 cup water


Spice mixture:

  • 1/2 tsp whole coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 whole allspice
  • dash ground nutmeg
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp whole black pepper

Instructions


1. In large pot cover drumsticks with water and boil for about twenty minutes. While chicken is cooking, cut up all your vegetables into one-inch cubes. Blend the spices for the spice mixture in a spice grinder (a coffee grinder dedicated to non-coffee flavors). If you have more than you need, simply put it in a small jar or ziplock for use again later. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Strain the chicken and let it cool to the touch. Discard chicken skins and put the chicken in a bowl. Add 1/2 tsp pepper to chicken and 2 crushed bouillon cubes or (if you don't like MSG) 1-2tsp salt. Grate 3 cloves garlic over the chicken. Massage the flavorings into the chicken. Using your fingers, pierce the thickest parts of meat and stuff garlic in the slits. Cover a sheet pan with tinfoil and place drumsticks on it evenly spaced. Bake for 20 minutes until chicken is a little bit crusty and golden.

3. In a large pot on the stove, saute the vegetables with 2 tsp spice mixture in oil. After a couple minutes, add ½ cup water, and 3 bouillion cubes or 1 Tbsp Better than Bouillion (for those who don't want MSG), and cook with the lid on. After ten minutes, grate 3 cloves of garlic into the vegetable pot. A couple minutes later when vegetables are soft and juicy and garlic is cooked, remove from heat. 

4. Serve baked chicken with saucy vegetables. Assumpta served them with Burundian spicy rice and spinach with smoked fish. Click at right for those recipes.

 

 

Armenian Cheese Phyllo Packets

Burek

As Maggie Saab, whose family was from Kilis, Armenia (today part of Turkey), taught Lindsay Sterling in Falmouth, MA.

Cooking Time: 45 minutes (plus thawing something in the fridge over night)
Serves 8-16 as an appetizer or along with a meal

Ingredients

  • 1 box phyllo dough
  • 1 cup shredded mild, unsalty cheese (she preferrs Munster)
  • 1 cup feta cheese
  • 5-6 sprigs parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds

Equipment

  • sheet pan or backing sheet
  • parchment paper
  • pastry brush
  • 2 small bowls
  • 1 medium bowl
  • cheese grater

Instructions

The night before:

1. The night before you want to cook, thaw the phyllo dough out in the fridge.

The day of:

2. about an hour before cooking put the phyllo on the counter to bring to room temperature before working with it.

3. Preheat the oven to 375. Melt the butter and add the oil to the butter in a small dish. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

4. Mix the cheeses together with chopped parsley in a medium mixing bowl.

5. Open the phyllo dough and unroll it so you have a stack of rectangular sheets. Keep a clean towel handy for covering the stack when you're not using it. This keeps the sheets from drying out and breaking.

6. Take two sheets from the stack at once and place them in front of you with the short end of the rectangle facing you. With a paring knife cut the rectangle in half the long way, making two really tall rectangles. Brush butter along the edges of each rectangle with the pastry brush.

7. Place a spoonful of cheese mixture at the bottom of each rectangle. Then fold the bottom edge of the phyllo over the filling and line it up with side edge so that you start to form a triangle. Then keep folding the triangle up the phyllo dough. You effectively close in the filling and make each triangle have many layers of pastry. Brilliant! Fold the triangle until you can fold no more. (If you've ever folded a flag into a neat triangle it's the same idea here).

8. Place the burek on the lined cookie sheet. Make as many more as you can with your ingredients. Brush the tops of the burek with the butter/oil, stab the tops with a sharp knife to let steam out while cooking, and sprinkle sesame seeds on each. Bake them in the oven 'til golden.

 Maggie Saab (right) shares her favorite dish from Armenia.

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Colombian Chicken Soup

Sancocho de Gallina

As Leanor McGinn from Bogota, Colombia, taught Lindsay Sterling in Durham, Maine, June 2015

Note: Find culantro, plantains, and yuca at Latin or tropical international markets. If you can't find those ingredients, use cilantro to replace culantro and use extra potatoes and corn to replace the plantains and yuca (pronouced YOU-Kuh). 

Cooking time: 1 hour
Makes: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 green pepper
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 bunch culantro or cilantro
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces or 8 country style chicken pieces
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 green plantains, peeled (see how-to-video) and cut into 1 inch segments, then halved lengthwise
  • 48 oz. chicken broth
  • 1 lb. yuca, peeled, cut into 3 inch long segments, and quartered lengthwise (you can buy this already peeled and frozen), or buy it fresh and peel it yourself
  • 1/4 green cabbage, cut into 1-inch thick chunks
  • 2 stalks celery cut into 1/4" pieces
  • 2 carrots cut into 1/4" pieces
  • 3 Tbsp sofrito (see step 1 below)
  • 2 tsp season salt (or blend of sea salt, dehydrated onion and garlic, coriander, black pepper, celery seed, allspice, ginger, red pepper, oregano, basil, thyme, paprika)
  • 2 whole ears of corn, shucked and cut crosswise into four sections each
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 cups white rice (optional)

Instructions

1. Blend green pepper, onion, garlic and all but a small bunch of culantro or cilantro in blender. Try to add as little liquid as possible (if any) to get the blender moving. Reserve 3 Tbsp of the blended mixture, called sofrito, for making this batch of soup and freeze the remaining sofrito in 3 Tbsp portions for making soup (or rice dishes) in the future. You can fill ice tray cubes or make dollups on a sheet pan or plate. Once frozen, transfer frozen sofrito into Ziploc bag.

2. In a large pot cover chicken pieces with chicken stock and enough water so that liquid is at least 3 inches deep over the top of the chicken. Put pot on high heat. Add sofrito, yuca, plantains, carrots, celery, and season salt. Simmer until chicken is cooked or opaque throughout (about 30 minutes) and then remove the chicken pieces from soup. Add the potatoes. After about ten minutes, add the corn pieces. When the potatoes are soft, add chicken pieces back to pot.

3. Remove the large pieces of yuca from the pot, and place on a cutting board. Cut the yuca in half lengthwise. Remove and discard the hard fiber running through the center of the yuca root. Cut lengthwise again into smaller pieces and return to the pot.

4. Season the soup to taste. Garnish each bowl with pieces of avocado and fresh cilantro leaves.
 

Cape Verdean Cod Casserole

Bacalhau Com Natas

As Clarice Pinto and Lucy Pires from Santiago, Cape Verde, taught Lindsay Sterling in Brockton, Massachusetts.

Cooking Time: 1 hour + 24 hours soaking the salt cod
Servings: 10
Note: Recipe adapted slightly to avoid MSG, which was in a couple of pre-prepared spice mixtures they used.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb. salt cod
  • 2 1/2 lb potatoes
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion sliced into 1/4"-thick rounds
  • 1/4 tomato sliced into 1/4"-thick rounds
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, rough chopped including stems and leaves
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • dash chili powder
  • dash sweet paprika
  • dash annatto or achiote powder (optional)
  • 2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch

Instructions

1. The night before cooking, soak the salt cod in water in the fridge over night.

2. At least an hour before you want to eat, peel the potatoes and cut into 1" chunks. Cover with water in a large pot. Put the eggs (shells on) in the water along with the potatoes. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 14 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Take the eggs out and peel them. Strain the potatoes.

3. Preheat the oven to 350. Strain the salt cod.

4. In a large pot with 1/2 cup olive oil in it, saute the onions, tomato, cilantro, red pepper, yellow pepper, and garlic with all the spices (chili powder, paprika, annatto, and white pepper). When onions are soft, add the salt cod. Stir and cook until salt cod breaks down a little bit and turns kind of mushy. Then gently stir in the the potatoes.

5. In medium sauce pan, melt butter, whisk in corn starch, and then whisk in milk and cream. Heat on medium, stirring constantly, until the milk and cream thicken.

6. Spread the sauteed fish-potato mixture evenly in an oven-safe casserole dish. Slice the eggs into 1/4" rounds. Decorate the top of the cod and potato mixture with green olives and cross sections of egg.

7. Pour the thickened milk mixture over the whole thing. Bake for 40 minutes. Broil at the end so the top is slightly browned.

Tanzanian Winter Squash

Futari Ya Maboga

As Iman Lipumba from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, taught Lindsay Sterling in Portland, Maine. Adapted from A Taste of Tanzania, by Miriam R. Kinunda. Photos by Lindsay Sterling.

Note: You can make this dish to by saucy or not depending on how much liquid you add. Cooking time: 30 min.
Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1/2 small onion, medium dice
  • 1 butternut squash (or kobocha or hubbard), or about 1 1/2 lbs., peeled and seeded, and sliced into rectangular planks 1/2" x 2" inches
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder or 3 whole black/brown cardamon pods (green also tastes good)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1-3 cups water (if you want sauce - enough to hit the squash in the pot shoulder high)
  • dash cinnamon to taste

Instructions

Heat oil in large pot and saute onion until soft. Add ginger and cardamon, stir for one minute; then add water, coconut milk, and salt. Stir and bring to a boil. Add squash and turmeric. Once liquid boils again, cover pan and turn heat to low. Try not to stir or bump the squash if you want nice large pieces. Remove cardamon pods if you used them. Serve pieces of squash with sauce. Sprinkle cinnamon on top of each dish to taste.

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Tanzanian Green Bananas and Beef

Ndizi Na Mkia Wa Ngombe

As cooked with Iman Lipumba from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in Portland, Maine. Adapted from A Taste of Tanzania, by Miriam R. Kinunda.

Cooking Time: 2 1/2 hours

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 lb. oxtail or beef with bones
  • 1 lb. stew beef
  • 1 1/2 lb. green bananas
  • 1/2 yellow onion, medium dice
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups beef broth (from oxtail)
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced or grated
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

Instructions

1. Simmer the the oxtail or bone-in beef in water, along with the stew beef. Once the broth gets cooking, with a large, flat spoon skim oil and foam off the top of the broth repeatedly. 

2. While the broth is cooking, peel the green bananas by slicing the skin length wise with a knife, prying your fingers between the peel and the flesh, and popping the peel off the round banana inside. Slice the banana flesh lengthwise in half, and then crosswise so you have segments. Cover the peeled banana pieces in water in a bowl until use so they don't turn brown.

3. When stew beef is tender (about an hour and a half, depending on the cut of beef you're using), remove the beef from the broth. Keep the oxtail cooking in the water longer if you would like for even more flavor in the broth. When the oxtail is tender (or you've run out of time!) remove it from the broth. 

4. In another large pot, add the oil and saute the stew beef pieces on high so they're nicely browned. Remove the meat from the pan. 

5. Turn the heat to medium, and add the onions to the pan and saute until soft. Add black pepper, cumin, fresh ginger, turmeric and chopped cilantro and garlic and stir for one minute. 

6. Mix in the tomato paste and let cook for three minutes, stirring. Then mix in tomatoes. Lower the heat to medium-low and cover the pot. Simmer until the tomatoes soften. Use a cooking spoon to press the tomatoes to help them disappear faster.

7. Once tomatoes have blended in, add coconut milk and about 2 cups of broth and stir. Once the liquid is boiling, strain the banana pieces and add them to the liquid along with the oxtail (if your diners don't mind gnawing beef right off the bone), and the cooked stew beef. The liquid should be level with the beef and bananas. Cook until bananas are soft like cooked potato. Garnish with cilantro if you like.

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Dominican Rice and Beans

As Angel Ferreras from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, taught Lindsay Sterling in Freeport, Maine.

Note: Along with meat and fried green plantains, these rice and beans make up the classic Dominican lunch called La bandera (the flag). It's named after the flag, Angel explained, because the meal is as Dominican as the flag and it's served everywhere in the country. These rice and beans are so easy to make and delicious, my family has this dish probably every other week. 

Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Makes: 6 servings

Ingredients

For the beans:

  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp Adobo seasoning (main ingredients: salt, turmeric, garlic powder)
  • 1/4 green pepper, cut into 1/2" chunks
  • 1/8 red onion, sliced into small segments
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 can Roman beans, drained and rinsed (pinto, kidney, red, or black would work as well) 
  • 4 oz. tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves

For the rice:

  • 2 cups white rice (Goya Canilla brand long grain enriched white rice recommended)
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil 
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups water

Instructions

1. Put all the ingredients for the beans in a medium sauce pot. Bring up to a boil, then simmer for 20-30 minutes. 

2. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil with 2 Tbsp vegetable oil and 2 tsp salt in a large, heavy-bottomed pot with lid.

3. Add rice to the boiling water, stirring with a wooden spoon. After five minutes or so, when spoon stays standing up in the cooking rice, or no water is standing above the rice, turn heat to low, and cover the pot with a lid.

4. After ten minutes, turn the rice so that the rice that was on top is on the bottom. Recover. Cook another ten minutes. When rice is cooked, increase the heat to medium-high for two minutes so that the rice on the bottom fries and gets crunchy/toasted but doesn't burn. 

5. Spoon the fluffy rice into one serving bowl and the concon - the crispy rice at the bottom of the pot - onto a separate serving plate. (If you run cold water on the bottom of the rice pot, it makes the rice release much more easily. Also, you can slice through the concon in the pot to make chunks that are easier to pry/lift out of the pan with a spatula. 

6. Serve beans, rice, and concon in separate bowls family style on the table. Serve with Dominican tostones and meat for the popular lunch: la bandera

 

Dominican Stewed Beef

Note: In the Dominican Republic, a lunch plate of meat, rice and beans, and fried green plantains, is a classic called La bandera. In Spanish, "la bandera" means "the flag," which is to say that the dish is as Dominican as the flag itself. The kind of meat served varies. This is one of my favorites.

Makes: 10 servings
Cooking time: 30 min in pressure cooker; 80 minutes in regular pot + 1-12 hours marinating

Ingredients

For the marinade (called sazon or sofrito):

  • 1/2 head garlic
  • 1 onions
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup rough chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 chicken bouillon cub
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 Tbsp achiote powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp green olives
  • 1/2 Tbsp capers
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water only if needed

For the beef:

  • 2 1/2 pounds stew beef
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce (if you're gluten-free, please be sure to use gluten-free soy sauce)
  • 2 Tbsp sazon or sofrito marinade
  • 1 tsp pepper  
  • 4 cloves garlic, mashed into a paste
  • pinch cinnamon
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3-4 cups hot water
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • salt to taste

Instructions

1. Make the marinade. Peel the garlic cloves, peel the onion, and cut the onion and green pepper into quarters. Place all of the marinade ingredients in the blender with just enough water to get the blender going. Blend until smooth.

2. Reserve 2 Tbsp of the marinade for making the beef, and freeze the rest in 2-Tbsp portions in an ice tray or in piles on a sheet pan/cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Once frozen, transfer the marinade nuggets into a sealed Ziplock. Use these later when making this beef dish again, rice, or soups. 

3. In a large bowl mix soy sauce, 2 Tbsp of the marinade, pepper, garlic, and cinnamon. Coat meat evenly with this mixture by massaging with hands. Cover and let marinate in fridge for 1-12 hours.

4. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed large pot (with lid) or pressure cooker pot. Once oil is hot, add meat. Once the meat is brown on the surface, add cilantro and enough water to come up "shoulder high" on the meat. Cook the meat until tender. If you're using a pressure cooker, this will be about 15 minutes. If you're using a regular pot, this could be more like an hour - you'll need to add more water to keep it saucy. When the meat is tender, add tomato paste, and cook for five minutes more. Taste and add salt if necessary.

 

 

 

Azerbaijani Beef With Chestnuts and Sour Plums

Turshu Kourma

As Zemfira and Tarlan Ahmadov from Baku, Azerbaijan, showed Lindsay Sterling in Portland, Maine. Photos by Tiffany Converse.

Cooking Time: 2 hours
Serves: 4-6
Note: Persian dried golden prunes, also known as sour plums, are can be found at Middle Eastern markets. They do have pits so warn your guests. Great substitutes that are pit-free and taste great are dried apricots sliced in half, dried cherries, or dried cranberries. The cherries are my favorite because their flavor is both sweet and sour like the original golden prunes.

Note: She served this with yellow rice, a fresh vegetable platter, and pickled vegetables. 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cubed beef (stew meat)
  • 2 onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ghee 
  • 1 cup Persian sour plums (substitute dried cherries, apricots, or cranberries)
  • about 40 fresh chestnuts from produce department 
  • or 20 prepared (peeled and cooked) chestnuts from a jar or Cryovac-ed

Equipment

  • large pot
  • knife
  • cutting board
  • 2 large saute pans, at least one with lid 
  • medium saute pan
  • mixing spoon
  • medium bowl
  • large bowl
  • spoon
  • strainer and pot or slotted spoon
  • 1 tsp (or eyeball it)

Instructions

1. If using prepared chestnuts you can skip this step. If using fresh chestnuts, make an "x" with a knife in the base of each chestnut, and then boil for five-seven minutes. Preferably sit with a loved one as you two then peel off the hard shells and dark skins together.

2. Cook beef cubes covered in salted water for an hour and a half or 15 minutes in a pressure cooker.

3. Soak dried fruit in a dish of water (wash any salt off sour prunes if there is any). 

4. Remove beef from broth with a slotted spoon or strain beef, reserving the both.

5. In large saute pan (with lid) on medium heat, saute onions nearly covered in oil and sprinkled generously with turmeric, until they cook down to half their original size.

6. In another large saute pan, saute meat on high heat in a small amount of oil for about ten minutes to brown the sides. Remove meat and put the meat in with the onions on medium-low.

7. Strain the dried fruit. In the large saute pan you used to saute the meat, saute the dried fruit in a teaspoon of ghee for five minutes on medium, and then add the fruit to the with the meat and onions.

8. In the same pan you used to saute the dried fruit, add another teaspoon of ghee and sautee the chestnuts until they're golden. Add the chestnuts to the onions and beef.

9. Now continue to cook all the ingredients together on medium-low for about 45 minutes mostly with lid on, occasionally turning the contents gently, and adding spoonfulls of beef broth here and there to keep everything moist and together but not saucy.

 The Ahmadovs (right and center) share their favorite dishes from Azerbaijan.

Serve beef and chestnuts with Azerbaijani yellow rice, fresh vegetable platter, and pickled vegetables if you wish. 

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Azerbaijani Cornish Hen

As Zemfira Ahmadov, from Baku Azerbaijan, taught Lindsay Sterling in Portland, Maine. Photos by Matt Boutet.

Serves: 10 with many other dishes present, 6 as a main dish
Cooking Time: 1 hr
Note:
Perfect with:
Azerbaijani yellow rice, fresh vegetable platter, pickled vegetable platter

Ingredients

  • 1 cornish hen
  • 2 onions
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/2 cup ghee
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tomato
  • 8 eggs
  • pinch citric acid (optional)

Instructions

1. Remove any parts from the cavity of the cornish hen. Cut hen into bone-in pieces: wings, legs, breasts, thigh. Trim off any excess fat and the very wing tips and discard. Slice each breast piece across twice so you have three smaller pieces, about the size of a leg or wing. Place in a large soup pot on high with about 1/4 cup water.

2. Slice the onions into 1/4" thick moons, and add to pot with 1/2 cup ghee, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp turmeric, and 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper. Lower heat to 8 out of 10, and cover with lid.

3. Let cook, stirring once in a while, until onions are almost disintegrated. Turn down heat or add a little water if contents threaten to burn. Cut off tomato skin with paring knife, cut out and discard stem, dice flesh and add to pot. Let cook ten minutes more.

4. Scramble 8 eggs in separate bowl. Stir in a pinch of citric acid if you wish (it's super sour, literally a pinch will do), and then pour eggs into the pot with the chicken. Stir and let cook just until egg solidifies. Spoon hen and egg mixture into a serving dish and serve with platter of yellow rice. You may warn guests that there are bones in the cornish hen dish.

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Albanian/Greek Chicken Pie

Kotopita

As Bill Dilios, from Politsani, Albania (formerly part of Greece), taught Lindsay Sterling in Freeport, ME.

Serves: 10 for dinner, 20 as an appetizer or side
Cooking Time: 2 hours plus thawing overnight

Ingredients

  • 1 box phyllo dough
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 large yellow or sweet onions, medium dice
  • 1 stick butter, cut into 1/2" chunks + 1 stick butter
  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" cubs
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 boullion cube, 1 tsp boullion paste, or 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs

Equipment

  • cutting board
  • chef knife
  • mixing spoon
  • large soup pot 
  • large mixing bowl
  • medium bowl
  • pastry brush
  • Bill's special kotopita pan [link to store]:
  • or 3 pie plates
  • or 2 9x12, 2-inch deep baking dishes 

Instructions

1. Thaw phyllo dough. The day before you want to make kotopita, transfer the phyllo dough box from the freezer to the fridge to thaw it. Then an hour before you want to start cooking, take the phyllo box out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature on the counter. If you forget to take the phyllo out of the freezer the night before, you can thaw it on the counter in 2-3 hours. 

2. Make the filling. Saute onions with 2 Tbsp oil and 1 stick butter (cut into chunks) until onions are soft, 5-10 minutes. Cut the chicken pieces into 1/2 inch cubes and add to the onions. Wash all surfaces that raw chicken touched.  When chicken is half-cooked (opaque on the outside but still translucent in the center), add rice and saute for 2 minutes without browning anything. Add chicken stock so that the rice is just floating in liquid, about 3 cups. Add crushed bouillon cube, bouillon paste, or salt as desired and incorporate. Saute, stirring frequently, until the liquid disappears and you have a thick mass of chicken and rice with no runny liquid. Remove from stove and let cool. Mix in three eggs.

3. Preheat oven to 395. 

4. Assemble the pie. See how he did it in this video. You melt a stick of butter in cereal bowl and get a pastry brush out. Bill made one awesome, giant pie in a what looked like an extra-large, deep-dish pizza pan. Alternatively you can use three pie dishes or 2 9x12 baking dishes. Brush the bottom and sides of the baking dish with olive oil. Layer whole phyllo sheets over the bottom of baking dish, overlapping the edges of the pan by roughly 2 inches. (No folding, cutting or fussing!). 

Now be like Jackson Pollock with the butter brush dripping melted butter on the phyllo. You don't need to brush the butter around - just drip enough butter so that it looks like it's starting to rain on a sidewalk. Make another layer of phyllo overlapping the edges again. Drizzle butter again. Layer phyllo again. Drizzle butter again. When you have about five layers of phyllo, make a layer of chicken filling about 1/2" inch deep. Cover with two more layers of phyllo/butter drips. Add another layer of filling about 1/2" deep. Do five more layers of phyllo. Fold all the draped edges of phyllo on top of the pie. Brush butter over the dry edges of phyllo, folding them down onto the pie. 

If you are using multiple pies, when you complete one pie, just follow the same process and make another one in another dish. 

5. Bake for about 40 minutes, turning the temp down to 385 after ten minutes. When the entire pie is golden brown, remove from oven and let the pie cool for 10-20 minutes. 

 Bill Dilios teaches how to cook his favorite dish from Politsani, Albania.

6. Serve. A cool trick for cutting the pie: place a large cutting board (one that is bigger than the pie itself) over the top of the pie. Holding the pan and the cutting board together, flip them over so that the pan ends up upside down on top of the cutting board. Now just lift the pan off the pie. Use a serrated bread knife to pie into squares or wedges, depending on what look you want.

Once pie is cool, store leftover pie in tinfoil in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 350 degree oven or toaster oven.

 

 

Bosnian-Serb Meat Pie

Burek

As Sanja Bukarac, from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, taught Lindsay Sterling in Portland, Maine. Illustration by Margaret Owen. Photos by Matt Boutet.

Serves: 9
Cooking Time: 1:15

Ingredients

  • 1 package phyllo dough
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds ground meat (she used beef, veal and pork)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 bunches scallions, sliced into rounds
  • salt
  • pepper
  • bottle of plain kefir
  • sour cream (optional)

Instructions

1. One day before cooking transfer phyllo from the freezer to the fridge. One hour before cooking, transfer phyllo box to the counter. Leave it all wrapped up; you don't want the filo to dry out.

2. In a large saute pan with a little oil, saute ground meat with scallions until the meat loses all raw pink spots and is evenly brown. I didn't see her drain the meat of liquified fat, but I had a lot so I drained it off. Season with salt and pepper. In a separate container whisk together the eggs and yogurt. Grease a rectangular baking dish with spray cooking oil. Preheat oven to 385.

3. On a large cutting board or tray, lay out 2 sheets of filo on top of one another with the long side of the rectangle facing you. Spoon ground beef onto the phyllo dough in the shape of a line about an inch thick parallel to the long edge closest to you, leaving an inch of phyllo on each end meatless. Use about 1/2 cup ground beef mixture to make the line. Drizzle yogurt mixture over the top. Roll the phyllo over the meat and keep rolling so you have a long cylander of meat rolled in phyllo. Be quick and confident when working with phyllo, and use as few touches as possible to do what you need to do. For example, just leave the roll you just did where it finished rolling as opposed to moving it somewhere. The more you touch phyllo, the more it falls apart. Cover it with a clean kitchen towel if you need to step away for a minute - otherwise it dries and breaks easily. Make 2 more of meat-in-phyllo rolls.

4. Now put another two sheets of phyllo down, this time off-setting them by 3 inches vertically to give you a little more surface area to roll the three meat rolls you just made inside these sheets of phyllo. Before you roll them up, spoon yogurt mixture in a zig zag pattern across all three rolls. Once they're bundled in the phyllo, transfer this "roll of rolls" into the baking dish, seam side down. Repeat this step two more times, fitting rolls flush against each other in the baking dish.

5. Spray the top of the meat pie with cooking oil and bake until golden and crispy, about 45 minutes. Cover with a clean kitchen towel for ten minutes to help the interior be soft.

Slice cross sections and serve with forks, and glasses of plain kefir with spoons. Instruct your guests to alternate bites of meat pie and spoonfuls of kefir. Also, some like a little sour cream with their meat pie.

Azerbaijani Yellow Rice

Pilaf

As Zemfira Ahmadov, from Baku, Azerbaijan, taught Lindsay Sterling in Portland, ME.

Serves: 10
Cooking Time: 1/2 hour active, 2 hours total
Note: The rice has a wonderful scent, flavor, and texture - individualized and firm - not soft or mushy. 
Perfect with: meat dishes such as Azerbaijani cornish hen, or Azerbaijani beef.

Ingredients

  • 3 c. basmati rice
  • large tortilla or potato sliced into 1/4 inch planks
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/3 c. ghee (a little less than a stick of butter's worth)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Equipment

  • large pot with tightly fitting lid
  • clean cloth towel
  • strainer
  • small plate
  • large serving platter

Instruction

1. Cover rice generously with water in a large bowl and massage rice to aid rinsing off white powder. Strain. Boil rice as you would pasta, for 8 minutes, and strain. It should be slightly uncooked and not yet fragrant or flavorful. Strain and let dry for 5-10 min.

2. Melt ghee in microwave or stovetop. Oil the bottom of a large pot and fit large tortilla in the bottom of the pot. With a small bowl or dessert plate take some of the rice out of the strainer and sprinkle it into the tortilla. Repeat, making a mountain of fluffed rice in the tortilla with the mountain peak in the middle of the pot.

3. Once you have a mountain of fluffed rice in the pot, sprinkle turmeric all over the top like the mountain is dusted with yellow snow.

4. Pour melted ghee in a small stream over the surface area of the rice mountain with a small drizzle as possible.

5. Cover the opening of the pot with two layers of paper towels or a clean cloth towel. Seal the lid over the towel, which keeps condensation from dripping back down into the rice. Fold edges of towel on top of lid so they don't dangle by any fire. Cook on low, setting 4 out of 10, for 1 1/2 hours.

6. Use a small dessert or salad plate to lift the rice out of the pot and toss the rice lightly onto a platter. The goal is for the rice to be fluffed onto the platter. 

 

 

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Iraqi Chicken and Rice

As Mona Galee, from Iraq taught Lindsay Sterling, in Westbrook, Maine, July 2011

Serves: 6-8

Cooking Time: 2 hours

Note: Mona served the chicken and rice as part of a full feast, including dolmas, fresh salad, watermelon cubes, tomato-chili flake soup and lemon-mint savory yogurt drink. I'll add links to those recipes once I post them. I have tended to make just the chicken and rice part often. I find myself using country-style bone-in pieces of chicken instead of a whole chicken to make serving easier.

Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 1 whole chicken, washed and split down the breast bone
  • 3 cloves garlic, rough chopped
  • 1/4 onion, medium dice
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp Madras curry powder
  • generous sprinkle turmeric
  • 1 dried Persian lime, also called  loomi* 
  • 1 4-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 Tbsp lemon pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsp Kosher salt
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 1-2 cups water

For the rice:

  • 2-3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Short Vermicelli egg noodles (omit for gluten-free version)
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1/2 tsp of the bar timon spice mixture**
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 cup reserved seasoned chicken broth
  • 3 cups water

*loomis, also known as noomi basra and limoo amani, are small persian limes that have been soaked in salt water and then baked in the sun. They are hard, light in weight (like a whiffle ball) and range from tan to black in color. You use one whole in this recipe. It also comes ground into flakes. It imparts a tangy, lime flavor. Tasted alone, dried lime is similar to the sourness of a Sourpatch Kid candy but without the sugar coating. In Portland, ME, you can get these at Al Sindabad Market, 710 Forest Avenue. 

For the bar timon pice mixture:

  • 2 1/4 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 full handfuls green cardamom pods
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp black pepper

For the Raisin and onion topping:

  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 onion, medium dice
  • 3 shakes cinnamon
  • 1 shake turmeric
  • 2 shakes salt

Equipment

  • chef knife
  • cutting board
  • 2 soup pots with lids
  • large frying pan
  • strainer and pan for underneath it or a cooling rack nextled in a pan that can catch liquid
  • small frying pan
  • large platter or cookie sheet 
  • large serving platter for rice and chicken
  • tongs
  • cereal bowl

Instructions

1. Get the chicken started. Split whole chicken down the breast bone to open up the cavity. Rinse splayed chicken with cold water. Put the whole bird in a large soup pot with lid on medium high (she used a special pot she called a gidduh, but my soup pot worked fine). Add to the pot, 1/4 cup oil, and onto the chicken: 1/4 chopped yellow onion, 1 tsp madras curry powder, generous sprinkle of turmeric, 1 toasted lime, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 Tbsp lemon pepper, 2 Tbsp Kosher salt, and 6 green cardamom pods. Let chicken cook with oil in spices with lid on for ten minutes, then add water until it’s 1 inch below the top of the chicken. Cook covered until chicken is cooked through (about 40 minutes).

2. Do some prep work while chicken is cooking, make the spice mixture for the rice, called bar timon. Blend in spice grinder: 1/4 cup cardamom pods, 2 1/4 tsp cloves, 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon, 1 Tbsp cumin, and 1/2 Tbsp black pepper. Cover rice with water and strain three times so the water stops turning cloudy. Let it drip dry in the strainer for 20 minutes. In a small dish, cover the golden raisins with water to plump.

3. Get the rice started. Once the chicken has cooked through in the broth, remove the chicken from the broth and put it on rack nestled in a shallow pan to drip dry. Put 2 Tbsp vegetable oil back in the bottom of the emptied pot on medium high. Once hot, add vermicelli noodles if using and toast until they turn reddish brown. Add the rice, 1/2 tsp of the bar timon spice mixture (store what’s left for when you make this again), 1/2 tsp turmeric, and 1 tsp salt, stir and let the rice soak in the oils for a couple minutes, stirring. Then add 1 cup of the reserved seasoned chicken broth and enough water (about 3 cups) so that the rice is covered by 1/2 inch of liquid. Cook on high. Once the water has disappeared from the rice (ten minutes), then put the lid on tightly (she put a plastic bag over the opening to seal in moisture but I don't like cooking with plastic so I left this off). Turn to low heat for another ten minutes.

4. Shallow-fry the chicken. When the rest of the meal is almost finished, shallow-fry the chicken which has drained and drip-dried. She used a wok with oil 1/4 inch deep on medium-high heat. I've used a large iron skillet with oil 1/4 inch deep. Wear long sleeves because any drips from the chicken will pop and splatter in the hot oil. Make sure the oil is hot but not smoking before you put the chicken in. When the chicken turns golden on one side, flip it so that both sides become nicely colored. The combination of soft, boiled chicken with fried exterior pieces is divine.

5. Final touches. Make the onion and raisin topping. Drain water out of raisins. In a the smallest sauté pan you have, saute 1/4 onion (medium dice) in a little oil. Once soft, add raisins, three shakes of cinnamon, one shake turmeric, and two shakes salt. When all this soft and hot and the turmeric has colored the oil yellow, turn the heat off. Make a plateau of rice on a serving platter. Put the whole fried chicken (or chicken pieces, if they’ve fallen apart) on the top in the center of rice. Sprinkle raisins and onions in a ring around the chicken.

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Afghani Lamb

Kourmet

(Pronounced like "gourmet" with a "K")

As a woman from Haret, Afghanistan, taught Lindsay Sterling in Maine. 

Serves: 6-8
Cooking time: 30min-1 hr
Active time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 yellow onions sliced into crescent moons
  • 3 pounds deboned lamb shoulder or leg, cut into 3" chunks
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp Doordooah spice mixture (equal parts black cardamon, turmeric, cloves, and cinnamon, blended in a spice grinder) 
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • enough flexible flatbread, such as naan, chapati, or pita for everyone eating

Equipment

  • Pressure cooker or soup pot
  • cutting board
  • knife
  • coffee grinder dedicated to grinding spices  
  • can opener
  • small empty jar with lid to hold extra spice mixture 
  • measuring cups and spoons (or just eyeball it)
  • serving dish for stew
  • serving platter for bread
  • serving spoon

Instructions

Blend all Doordooah spices in a spice blender (a.k.a. a coffee grinder dedicated to grinding spices). You'll make more than you need for this dish. Store the extra in spice jar and this recipe will be even easier next time. 

Cut onions into crescent moons and put in a large soup pot or pressure cooker. 

Cut the lamb you have into 3" chunks (if the butcher hasn't done this already for you). Rinse lamb with cold water and put in pot. Wash cutting board, hands, and knife and anything else that touched raw meat with soapy water. 

Add oil, turmeric, Doordooah spice, salt, and one half cup water. Cover and cook on medium high until onions have disintegrated into a thick stew and the lamb is tender. If you are using a regular soup pot, add more water as necessary so that your lamb ends up tender with a sauce of disintegrated onions among it. This will take about an hour for lamb leg, longer for shoulder meat.  In a pressure cooker, this should take about 20 minutes under pressure. 

Shave tomato into thin wedges and add tomato pieces to pot. Stir in tomato paste, cover and cook another 5 minutes more. She said you can also add cooked chickpeas and potato chunks here if you like, but we both liked the dish just meat and sauce.

In Afghanistan the dish is served without silverware and guests use pieces of flatbread to scoop up bites. Flatbreads like Tandor, Nan and Iraqi bread would be closest to what's served in Afghanistan. If you'd rather use silverware, serve in a bowl as you would a stew with bread on the side.

 

 

 

Ghanaian Peanut Soup

Ebenezer's All-Powerful Peanut Soup

As Ebenezer Akakpo, from Ada, Ghana, taught Lindsay Sterling in Yarmouth, ME, April 2011. Photos by Stacey Cramp.

Serves: 8
Active time: 2.5 hours
Note: This soup stores wonderfully in the freezer. Great to have on hand. Natives eat this soup with fou fou. It would also be good with instant polenta or bread.

Ingredients

  • 5 habanero peppers
  • 31 peeled garlic cloves (about 2 1/2 heads!)
  • 1 red onion, cut into big wedges
  • handful fresh basil leaves
  • 4 inches peeled ginger root, cut into chunks
  • 9 beef bouillion cubes (he used Maggi brand, common in Africa)
  • any smoked product (he used pork hocks, but said he'd also use fish)
  • 2 lb chicken pieces, bone-in
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1/4 c tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened peanut butter
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 pack mushrooms, cut in half

Instructions

1. Throw peppers, garlic, onion, basil, and ginger into a blender and fill the blender a couple inches from the top with water. Blend. Strain liquid puree into a large soup pot. Put strained mash back into blender, refill with water, blend and strain into soup pot again. Do this one more time so you have a big soup pot 3/4 full with flavored, strained water. You can squeeze out the strained mash for every drip of flavor goodness with your hands. Don't bother washing the blender, you'll use it again for the soup later.

2. Add bouillon, smoked pork or fish, and chicken.

3. Mark an x in the bottom of the three tomatoes, cover with water in a small pot, and boil for a couple minutes until the skins loosen. Remove from water, peel off skins, blend in the blender, and add to soup pot along with tomato paste.

4. Now blend in the blender: peanut butter, yellow onion, and water to fill the blender half-way. Pour mixture into a small pot on medium. Cook stirring for about 20 minutes until a spoon swiped on the bottom leaves a trail in the bottom of the pot and if you look closely the oils begin to separate. Add the peanut mixture the soup, along with mushrooms.

5. When mushrooms (and chicken of course!) are cooked, soup's done!