Monday, February 06, 2006

Jer: Libyan Stew

Happy Sunday!

Made the Libyan Stew and we really enjoyed it!! (By the way, I think we need to change spelling on the blog to Libyan from Lybian) Nelson could not get enough (Nelson is my and Elaine’s old roommate from NYC who now lives here in San Diego near me and Peter). The stew had great new flavors for us as I rarely cook with middle eastern or Indian spices. Great recipe Kate! I love how food is a reflection of the world and how in spite of how different we all seem to think we are, the reality is that we’re really all cooking and eating the same thing. Before adding the couscous and aside from the spices, this is very similar to the traditional lamb stews of northern Italy. Add a little chocolate and hold the garbanzos and cook with pork or chicken and this is essentially a Mexican mole. Use soy sauce and fewer spices and add some potato and we have a very traditional Filipino dish called menudo. Add some coconut milk and carrots and potatoes and we have Thai curry … I’m not as familiar with Indian cuisine but I’m sure there is a parallel version there as well … I love that about food!

I made a few adjustments, not because I thought the recipe needed a change but because I didn’t want to run to the store. I had some fresh pita bread around which I buy weekly from my favorite middle eastern food guy at the green market (who makes a killer fresh baba ganoush) so just before dinner I cut one into triangles, painted some olive oil and threw some fresh sea salt on before popping in our toaster oven (who I affectionately refer to as “Art”) and we ate the stew with the pita toasts, using them almost as makeshift spoons. I didn’t have garbanzo beans and we love really thick stews that can stand on their own without having to put on a carb base so I used much more couscous to thicken and added some chopped carrots. So our meal, as you’ll see from the photo, was much thicker than a soup-like stew. One more thing, I marinated the meat one hour ahead of time in a mix of one-half part balsamic to one part olive oil with some salt, pepper and chopped herbs. I dried thoroughly with paper towels before browning. Not sure if that was necessary but I had the time and so I decided to use it. I used 2 packages of lamb shoulder – one with bones and one without. Given how long the stew cooks I thought having some bones in there would help with the flavor. I loved how the meat off the bone tasted so next time I’ll use only lamb on bone. I loved, loved, loved, the contrast of spice and lemon!

It was a gray Sunday here in San Diego. Pete watched the only football match he’ll watch all year – the super bowl – and I spent most of the afternoon trying to figure out the US Government’s trademark site to file a trademark application for our books. We received finished books from the printer on Thursday and we’re quite happy with how they turned out. You really never know until you see a finished copy. Very, very excited I must say.

Hope everyone had a wonderful and yummy weekend!


Blogger Kate said...

Jer, Garbarzo beans-another word for chickpeas or is it another pulse all together?

06 February, 2006 14:41  
Blogger Jer said...

hi Kate! yes same legume. Wykpedia says Chickpea is derived from checheri in french and cicer in latin and garbanzo is derived from spanish. Cicer is chickpea or garbanzo in latin and the name Cicero is the nominative form. But since spanish is latin based, garbanzo probably has arab influences that came through southern spain. Just a guess. Interestingly, here in the US garbanzo is used when the pulse is canned but when sold as a dry good its usually referred to as a chickpea.

Here is a great chickpea salad that we made all the time when we lived in Mexico. Soak chickpeas overnight. Bring to boil. Refresh water, boil and turn to low until cooked. Salt at end to not toughen. Mix with canned white tuna (drained) thin sliced red onion, some really good olive oil and lemon, salt and pepper. Serve over an argula (rocket) salad that has also been tossed with olive oil and lemon juice. Very healthy and very good.

06 February, 2006 16:05  
Blogger Kate said...

That salad sounds great, i need something for tonight and that could be it!
The checheri translation is good I had a big dicussion with my french teacher the other day (who is dutch) a nd we couldnt get the translation right. Anyway I can put her straight now.

07 February, 2006 07:11  
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