(Meat and Leeks)
This translation is one of my favorites, a warm rich thick yogurt meaty dish that has wonderful flavors. A great winter or fall type of dish. It’s not quite chicken soup for the soul but it does make a person go “Mmmm…comfy now!”
Cut p fat meat medium and leave it in the pot with a little salt and water to cover. And when it is nearly done, throw big green onions on it and big Syrian Leeks, washed and with their leaves cut off. When it is done and the water has decreased, throw spices on it and adjust the salt. Then take it out of the pot and put it in another vessel, and take the water from the pot and throw yogurt on it as needed. And when it boils well, add already prepared melted tail fat, with the onions and leeks which have been taken up. Throw in a scraped stick of Chinese cinnamon, and it settles and is taken up…Throw in saffron and add sugar to it, and it comes out good.
Medieval Arab Cookery p.321
2.5 lb beef/venison/goat or chicken cubed
3 leeks sliced
3 cups water (or enough to cover the meat)
1 small onion diced
½ tsp cumin, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, saffron, and black caraway seeds (optional)
2 C yogurt
salt to taste
1 Tsp granulated table sugar
Optional: (Cariadoc makes this suggestion for chicken)
½ lemon or ¼ cup lemon juice ½ C fresh mint
Al-Baghdadi p. 41/6 (A Miscelleny)
I did this redaction following the techniques of the original while still incorporating a bit from Master Cariado’s suggestion.
Here is a compilation of all the ingredients in one picture.
I cubed my meat (this time chicken). The meat used is 10 chicken thighs (a very rough equivalent to one full chicken. I then placed the chicken into a pot and covered with water.
When the chicken was mostly done I added 1/2 the onions and 1/2 the leeks. The remaining leeks and onions I sauteed in a pan with olive oil (sesame oil would work just as well to add a nutty taste).
The original translation says to add prepared tail fat with onions and leeks. Tail fat is fat from the tail of a type of sheep. This is a VERY strong mutton taste. If you ever have had mutton and prefer your mutton in small quantities, don’t add tail fat. If you LOVE mutton go to a meat market and ask for sheep tail fat and use it like you would bacon. /shudder
The leeks were cut below the start of the leaves then sliced lengthwise and cut into smaller pieces. This is for easier washing and rinsing of dirt that might have collected in the growing layers of the leeks.
After the leeks and onions have turned soft, I added spices then taste if additional salt is needed.
The pot is left to simmer for a final round of water reduction. After the water has reduced a bit more, I turn off the burner and add the yogurt, mint, sugar, sauteed onions and leeks. (The original translated recipe says to remove the dry soup to another vessel, I opted to turn off the stove instead).
I serve this either by itself or over brown rice to help sop up the extra juices. Pita bread could serve the same purpose for the sopping up. Couscous is very period for a carb/filler for an added accompaniment.
Before serving take one final taste just to make sure you have enough salt or need to add a touch extra!