Sunday, October 21, 2012

Islamic Medieval Dinner 2

As I've mentioned before, I am co-ordinating a medieval Islamic banquet next month, and I am testing out recipes. Previous experiments can be seen here and here. This time, I was working on recipes for chicken with pistachios, carrots and leeks with tahini, and lentils with taro and chard.

The chicken was diced, sauteed, then covered with chicken stock and simmered a bit with the coarsely chopped pistachios. I like it, but I think it is crying out for just a hint of cardamom. I think that would really pop the pistachios.

The carrots and leeks are simmered in vegetable stock, and spiced with tahini, nutmeg, clove, pepper, and ginger. I think next time I will get the carrots almost done before adding the leeks.

Taro is an interesting beast. The skin is quite tough, but the buggers are slippery as heck when peeled. According to sources on the web, some people react to the raw taro, which can cause an itching sensation on the hands, or in the mouth, if eaten under-cooked. I did not learn this until after I peeled and diced them, so apparently I am not one of those people. They can have a slimy texture, but I found that if boiled to tender, then drained and rinsed, they can have the same texture as boiled potato. Chard really has two components, the leaf and the stem. Both are delicious, but need to be handled differently. I diced up the thick stems, and sauteed them in  oil for a few minutes, until tender. The leaf I just rough chopped, then added to the lentils just at the end of cooking. The cooked taro was added just before serving, as well.These were quite good. The spouse said they were the star of the plate.


Chicken with Pistachios

2 chicken breasts, diced
1 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
1 cup chicken stock
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. olive oil

In a skillet, saute chicken in olive oil over medium-high heat until half way done. Add stock, pistachios, and salt, cook until chicken is cooked but tender.

Carrots and Leeks with Tahini

5 medium carrots, cut into 1/2 inch wide, 4 inch long pieces
white part of 1 large leek, quartered and cut into 4 inch long pieces
2 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp. tahini
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
a pinch of clove
salt to taste

In a saucepan, simmer carrots in stock until mostly tender. Add leeks and spices. Cook until both carrots and leeks are tender. Drain, toss with tahini and salt.

Lentils with Taro and Chard

1 cup lentils
4 small taro roots
5 leaves of chard
2 cups vegetable stock
4 cups water
salt to taste
1 tbsp. oil

Peel and dice taro. (Care should be used with raw taro, it can cause itching. Safest to wear gloves). In a saucepan simmer taro in 4 cups water, until tender,  15 to 20 minutes. Drain, then rinse thoroughly. Set aside.

Separate chard stems from leaves. Dice stems, chop leaves into roughly 1 inch square pieces. Saute stems in oil over medium heat until tender. Set aside.

Simmer lentils in stock until tender, between 15 and 20 minutes. add water as necessary to keep lentils covered. When tender, stir in taro, chard stems, and chard leaves. Cook until chard leaves are tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Salt to taste.

Happy Eating!

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