lebanese

Riz a Jej (Lebanese Chicken & Rice)

Riz a Jej, Lebanese Chicken & Rice

This traditional Lebanese chicken and rice dish is one of my favorites. Flavorful, seasoned rice, topped with juicy chicken and studded with nuts—it is, for me, the purest definition of comfort food. I have so many memories around this dish with my grandmother, so I wrote a sweet story around this for Food52. Hope you all get to taste my grandmother’s simple Lebanese chicken and rice dish.

PHOTO BY JULIA GARTLAND

Total Time: 1 hour
Makes: 4-6 people

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • 1 tbsp EVOO

  • 1 cup onion, chopped

  • 2 lbs ground beef or lamb

  • 2 cups long-grain white rice

  • 2 tbsp salt

  • 4 tbsp bahārāt (seven-pepper spice)

  • 4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken

  • 5 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1/2 cup cashews

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts

  • 1/4 cup silvered almonds

  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds

  • 1/4 cup pistachios

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. MAKE RICE: In a large pot, add the butter, olive oil, and onion and cook for 5 minutes until the onion softens. Make sure the onions don’t brown. Add the ground meat and cook, stirring regularly, for 10 minutes until the meat starts to brown. Add the rice, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the bahārāt to the pot, and cook for 2 minutes as you're stirring and coating the rice with the spices. Add 4 cups of chicken stock and bay leaves to the pot and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the rice is fully cooked.

  2. MAKE CHICKEN: In a medium-sized pot, add shredded chicken and remaining 2 tbsp bahārāt. Mix well until fully seasoned. Add remaining 1 cup of chicken stock to the mixture and bring it to a gentle simmer on a low heat. This process will keep the chicken moist and flavorful.

  3. TOAST NUTS: Set the oven at the 450°F. In separate batches, toast each nut in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes until lightly golden. Once toasted, mix all the nuts together. Set aside.

  4. ASSEMBLE: To assemble, place the rice mixture on a serving platter and cover with shredded chicken. Garnish with toasted nuts.

Orange Blossom Osmalieh

Orange Blossom Osmalieh

A client recently asked me to make this traditional Lebanese dessert, osamlieh. I was scared at first, but I was also excited to make something new. So, I went to my go-to modern Lebanese cookbook The Jewelled Table, which had an authentic recipe for osamlieh. I added my own twist by mixing orange blossom water from my grandfather, which I brought back from Lebanon. This recipe seems daunting at first (I was too!), but it’s really simple once you get to the assembly.

It’s essential to use kataifi, a shredded phyllo pastry, for this dessert. It not only gives the foundation to hold the floral rosewater cream filling, but also adds crispy, crunchy textures to balance everything else. This dessert is definitely a showstopper with little efforts.

Total Time: 40-45 minutes
Serves: 6-8 people

INGREDIENTS

Osmalieh

  • 2 cups kataifi, shredded phyllo pastry

  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, cubed

  • 1 cup canola oil, divided into 1/2 cup

Mascarpone cream

  • 2 cups mascarpone, room temperature

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar

  • 2 tbsp rosewater

Orange Blossom Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 2 tbsp orange blossom water

INSTRUCTIONS

Osmalieh

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.

  2. Defrost your shredded filo pastry for about an hour.

  3. Divide the filo pastry into two equal amounts.

  4. In two 9-inch round cake pans, fill half cup of neutral oil in each. Spread the bottom of the oiled cake pan with shredded filo. Press down evenly so that the filo pastry is compact and flat.

  5. Dot the cubed butter on top of the pastry throughout.

  6. Bake them in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the pastry gets crispy and golden brown. After 15 minutes, make sure you rotate the pans for even browning.

  7. After baking, let them cool in the cake pan for 15- 20 minutes until the pastry is set. Once it’s set with the circle shape, take the dough out from the pan and place them on a wire rack or a paper towel to drain all the excess oil.

Mascarpone cream

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk heavy cream, confectioner’s sugar, and rosewater until it reaches a medium peak.

  2. In a separate mixing bowl, spread & fold the mascarpone with a spatula until it’s silky, and spreadable.

  3. Start folding the whipped cream into the mascarpone, 1/3 at a time, until it’s fully incorporated.

  4. Put the cream mixture into a piping bag (or a ziplock bag). Place it in the fridge until you are ready to assemble.

Orange blossom simple syrup

  1. In a small pot, add water, sugar, lemon juice, and orange blossom water over medium heat. Let it cook for 15 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved and reduced a little bit. Let it cool.

Assembly

  1. Place the bottom half of cooked filo dough on a serving base.

  2. Using a star-tipped piping bag, pipe the mascarpone cream on the filo base until it’s fully covered by making a circular motion. You need to do this twice to have two layers. The cream layer should be thick.

  3. Place the other layer of filo dough on top of the cream. Press down very gently to make a large cream sandwich.

  4. Decorate the top with more mascarpone cream and zested and crusted pistachio.

  5. Serve the orange blossom simple syrup on the side. Enjoy a slice with your afternoon coffee.

Sesame Kibbeh + Beet Yogurt

Sesame Kibbeh + Beet Yogurt

Kibbeh is an essential dish to lebanese cuisine. There are various different forms, and techniques used to make kibbeh. You can bake it, fry it, or grill it. Make it into balls, stuffed and baked, or crispy and flat. During my last trip to Lebanon I learned how to form the kibbeh balls. They look like footballs - I might not be an expert yet but I tried!

The beet yogurt steals the show - it is refreshing and delicious, complimenting kibbeh so well. Use it as a dip for your next mezze spread! 

Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 5-6 people

Kibbeh:

  • 1/2 cup fine bulgur

  • 1 onion, peeled

  • 2 tbsp buharat-7 pepper seasoning (cumin, coriander, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper)

  • 1 lb lamb, ground

  • 1 lb beef, ground

  • 1/2 cup white sesame seeds, roasted

  • 1.5 tbsp kosher salt

Beet Yogurt:

  • 2 cups greek yogurt

  • 3-4 roasted or boiled beets

  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tbsp kosher salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Kibbeh:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450F. 

  2. In a medium size bowl, soak the bulgur with lukewarm water for 10 minutes.  

  3. Place the onion and 1 tbsp of buharat in a food processor and pulse for 60-90 seconds or until well-minced.

  4. In a large bowl mix the ground beef and ground lamb with the onion mixture, the remainder of the buharat, salt, drained bulgur, and sesame seeds.

  5. Mix well and until fully combined. 

  6. Drizzle olive oil on a sheet tray and form footballs with the meat mixture, by pinching the ends. Put the finished, football-shaped mixture on the sheet tray.

  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

  8. Serve with the beet yogurt dip.

Beet Yogurt:

  1. In one easy step, add all the ingredients into a food processor and mix well until well combined! Taste for salt – and adjust seasoning.

  2. Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds.

  3. Cheers!

Salted Tahini Chocolate Tart (GF)

Salted Tahini Chocolate Tart (GF)

I spent some time last week in the kitchen with the wonderful Rachel Simons - one of the three brains behind my favorite tahini, Seed and Mill! We used my background as the inspiration for this gluten free dessert. With an oat gluten free crust, tahini, and dried rose petals this is the perfect chocolate bite! We made this tart two ways: a large tart you can serve at your next dinner party, or mini tarts to accompany your coffee. Check out Rachel's amazing work right here!!

Enjoy the recipe - comment below and let me know if you try it out!

Photos by Edouard Massih & Rachel Simons

Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 10-12 people

Gluten Free Oat Crust:

  • 1.5 cup old-fashioned oats

  • .75 cup almond flour

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

  • 1/2 cup honey

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Tahini Chocolate Filling:

  • 11.5 oz dark chocolate chips

  • 11.5 oz milk chocolate chips

  • 2 cup heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup tahini

  • 2 tbsp rosewater

Salted Topping:

  • Flaky sea salt

  • Any nut & seeds (pistachio, pistachio seeds, almonds, sesame seeds)

INSTRUCTIONS

Crust:

1.    Preheat the oven to 350F. In a food processor, pulse the oats, whole wheat flour, butter, honey, salt, and cinnamon until ground and wet sand like. 

2.   Press the crust mixture into desired tart shell. Bake until golden brown, and crispy about 25-30 minutes (10-15 min for mini).

3.    When ready, transfer to a wired rack and let the crust cool. 

Filling:

1.      Pour the cream into a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. 

2.     Place the chocolate into a large bowl, and pour the cream over it. Let it sit for 2 minutes until the chocolate has softened are start mixing the chocolate mixture. 

3.     Add tahini, and rosewater. Mix until chocolate has been fully incorporated, and the chocolate filling is thick and smooth. 

4.     Pour the chocolate filling into the tart crust, tap the tart against the countertop to pop any air bubbles. 

5.     Place the tart in the fridge, and let chill for 1-2 hours. 

6.     To serve: When ready let the tart come to room temperature for 20 minutes. Slice the tart with a warm knife, Finish with sea salt, nuts, and seeds. 

Cheers!

 

Mini Man'oushe

Mini Man'oushe

The traditional and best way to start your morning in the Middle East is with a man'oushe in hand. A man'oushe is a flatbread that is normally made with zaatar, and finished with fresh veggies rolled up and eaten like a sandwich. If you get it at the right place, fresh out of the oven - it is to die for. Crunchy, simple and delicious. I decided to make this breakfast essential into a mini hors d'oeuvre to add to my spring menu! With different toppings and sauces this can be catered for any event or client! 

The dough recipe is from David Lebovitz' website !!

Enjoy the recipe - comment below and let me know if you try it out!

Photos by Edouard Massih

Total Time: 2 - 2.5 hours
Serves: 4-5 people

Dough:

  • 1 cup tepid water (slightly warmer than room temp)

  • 1 tsp active dry yeast

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 2.5 cups (350g) AP flour

  • 1.5 tsp sea salt

Za'atar Topping:

  • 1/4 cup za'atar

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • salt to taste

Pizza Topping:

  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce

  • 1 cup shredded cheese

  • 6-8 sliced mushrooms

INSTRUCTIONS

Dough Making:

1.    In a stand mixer bowl, activate the yeast by sprinkling it over the water along with the sugar. Let sit in a warm place until the yeast starts to bubble, about 10 minutes. 

2.   Using a dough hook attachment, stir in the olive oil, flour and salt. Mix on medium-high speed for 5 minutes - until the dough becomes a smooth ball, but is sticky when touched by your finger. The dough should start pulling off the edges of the mixing bowl.

3.   Cover the dough in the bowl with a kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in volume - about 1.5 hours. 

4.    When the dough has doubled in volume, roll it out onto a lightly floured countertop, and divide the dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece of dough out, until the dough starts to resist. Cut the dough into small circles with a circle cutter. Then roll again to stretch the mini circles. 

Topping & Baking:

1.      When ready - preheat the oven to 450F. 

2.     Line a sheet tray with parchment paper, drizzle with olive oil, and start lining up the man'oushe circles the parchment paper. 

3.     In a small bowl, mix the za'atar and extra virgin olive oil to make the za'atar spread

4.     Spread the za'atar mixture on half of the man'oushe circles, and spread tomato sauce on the other half.

5.     Finish the pizza man'oushe with a little cheese, and a slice of mushroom. 

6.     Bake the man'oushe for 5-7 minutes or until golden, and crispy. 

7.   Serve warm, or cool down and freeze for later use. 

Cheers!

 

Rose Water Lemonade

Rose Water Lemonade

Aight aight I know what you are saying - it's fall I want a fall drink but let's be honest lemonade is a all year round drink - at least in my house. This drink is floral, acidic, sweet, and different! So let's keep pretending that it's summer and enjoy this spiked rose water lemonade! Cheers 

Photos by Jessica Marx

Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people

Spiked Lemonade:

  • 1/2 cup rose water (preferably al-wadi)

  • 3 1/2 cups lemonade

  • 1 cup vodka

  • 2 lemon, juiced

Garnish:

  • Dried rose petals

INSTRUCTIONS

1.    In a large pitcher, mix together the rose water, lemonade, vodka, and lemon juice.  

2.   Fill a glass up with ice. Pour the spiked lemonade.

3.    Garnish with dried rose petals. 

4.     Drink up!!

P.S. You can make the lemonade alcohol free, or alcoholic by adding one 2oz shot of vodka to each 8oz glass!