April 9, 2024
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From My Kosher Jerusalem Kitchen: Let’s Eat Middle Eastern

By Sybil Kaplan

In my recipe drawers, I have a large selection of Middle Eastern recipes, which I especially like to fix for winter. Here are some I hope you will enjoy.

 Jerusalem Mixed Grill

Meorav Yerushalmi

6 servings

As the story goes, sometime in the 1960s or 1970s, a soldier was walking along Agrippas Street late at night by the shuk and stopped at a street food place for a bite. The owner said he was closing and didn’t have much left, but he managed to stir fry what he had and stuff it into a piece of pita. So the Jerusalem mixed grill was born.

  • 1 heaping cup diced chicken livers
  • ⅞ cup cleaned and halved chicken spleens
  • 1 heaping cup chicken hearts
  • 1 sliced chicken breast
  • 4 sliced onions
  • 1 teaspoon baharat*
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Pita breads
  • Sliced pickled cucumbers
  • small hot pickled green peppers
  • tchina

*Baharat:

1 tablespoon each cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon and ginger

½ tablespoon each allspice and nutmeg

1. In a bowl, combine chicken livers, spleens, hearts, breast, onions, baharat and paprika. Refrigerate at least 5 hours.

2. Heat oil in a frying pan. Add bowl contents and stir fry 12-15 minutes until meat is done.

3. Stuff in pita and serve with pickled cucumbers and peppers and a dollop of tahini.

 Easy Couscous With Lamb and Chicken

6 servings

This North African dish came from a very old newspaper column.

  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 pound cubed lamb
  • 1 cut-up broiler-fryer chicken
  • 2 large quartered onions
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon dry coriander
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Dash ground saffron
  • 3 quartered red potatoes
  • 3 quartered carrots
  • 2 zucchini, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 ½ cups drained, canned chickpeas
  • 3 cups precooked couscous
  • ⅛ teaspoon coriander sprigs
  • Lemon wedges

Harissa:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
  • ⅛ teaspoon cumin

1. Heat ¼ cup oil in a Dutch oven. Add lamb and cook for 5-10 minutes. Remove to a bowl. Add chicken and cook for 5-10 minutes. Add lamb, onions, chicken broth, cinnamon, coriander, salt, pepper, parsley, turmeric, red pepper flakes and saffron. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

2. Add potatoes, carrots and zucchini. Cover, cook for 15-20 minutes. Stir in chickpeas. Remove 3 cups of cooking liquid and put in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then add couscous. Cover, let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

3. For the harissa, place oil, garlic, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, cayenne, cumin and ¼ cup cooking liquid in a blender and process until smooth. Place in a serving dish.

To serve, place couscous on a large platter. Pile meats and vegetables on top. Garnish with coriander sprigs and lemon wedges. Serve with harissa sauce.


Sybil Kaplan is a Jerusalem-based journalist, author and compiler/editor of nine kosher cookbooks. She is a food writer for North American Jewish publications, and she leads walks of the Jewish food market, Machaneh Yehudah, in English.

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