Liver Pâté with Thyme, Orange, and Pistachios

A fast and easy pâté that I make with the flavorful innards from the free-range turkey or the rooster we get for our festive winter lunches.

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I no longer remember which pâté recipe served as the base for my adaptation. As is my habit, I start by sautéing the onions with olive oil, instead of butter or duck fat, adding orange jest and also pomegranate molasses, which give it a lovely, fruity flavor. I prefer to use unsalted pistachios, but if you cannot get them, salted are fine.

This pâté is an ideal appetizer or first course, served with a simple green salad, like the one we make from the Romaine and other lettuce leaves and arugula from the garden.

I am sure your friends will appreciate a jar of this homemade pâté, so you may like to double the recipe.

Serves 6-8, about 2 ½ cups 
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Lachmacun: Spicy Meat-topped Pita Bread

This is my most recent variation of Lachmacun, or ‘Arab Pizza’ as it is sometimes called. If you do not have time to make the dough, use a good quality, whole-wheat pita. Brush with olive oil and toast on the griddle or under the broiler. Then add the meat sauce and broil, again, briefly, with some halved cherry tomatoes.

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Of course it is better with home-made bread dough –I prefer to use my whole grain one— which I shape into longish flat-breads, let them rest a bit, then mix one egg into my versatile Spicy Meat Sauce so that it more or less keeps its shape as it bakes, and can be picked up and eaten without falling apart, as most Lachmacun do.

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Serves 2  (2 pieces)   (more…)

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Kapuska: Cabbage with Ground Meat and Farro

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A kind of deconstructed stuffed cabbage leaves, this is a wonderful and most satisfying winter dish. It is inspired by Ozlem Warren’s Bulguru Lahana Kapuska.  I substituted wheat berries (farro) for the bulgur, and omitted the pepper paste, adding lots of Maras pepper. I used white wine and very little water as the cooking broth, plus some crushed canned tomatoes. (more…)

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Roasted Quince and Carrots with Garlic, Allspice and Turmeric

If you like, you can roast boned chicken legs together with the quince and carrots, basting them with the same combination of garlic, olive oil and spices (see variation).

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I know that quince is hardly a common ingredient for everybody, so I propose you roast instead a combination of cauliflower (briefly steamed first) and turnips if you have no quince. But do add a few tablespoons of lemon juice together with the olive oil and spices, since both cauliflower and turnips are sweet and lack the quince’s tartness that so well complements the roasted carrots’ flavor.

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Quince Carrot Baked & UN S (more…)

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Tigania & Tomato-less Tigania

The first recipe is a more recent version with tomato, and is based on the tigania my neighbor, Zenobia Stefa, prepares every so often. The second is the older and most common tigania served in island taverns. Since in my house we hardly ever have occasions for a late night snack, I like to serve my tigania with tagliatelle or ziti, or with mashed potatoes, as a main course.

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Tigania

Serves 4-6
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Roasted Leg of Lamb with North-African Spices, Lemon, and Onions

Adapted from Mediterranean Hot and Spicy

I call this herb and spice rub ‘North-African’ because besides the classic oregano and rosemary, it contains such Tunisian and Moroccan spices as caraway, cumin, and turmeric. In addition it is spiked with harissa, the ubiquitous hot pepper paste, that is to Arab North-Africa what chili oil is to Asia.

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With the same spice mixture you can rub poultry, beef, or pork, two to three hours before grilling, and leave at room temperature. Or you can mix 3 tablespoons of this rub with 3 tablespoons thick yogurt and baste chicken breast or legs, or skewered lamb and pork, before grilling. Better yet, leave in the refrigerator overnight, in the spicy yogurt marinade.

Makes 6 servings (more…)

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MAGIRITSA –Easter Lamb Soup

Adapted from The Foods of Greece (Stewart, Tabori, and Chang).

Magiritsa is traditionally made with the parts of the lamb not used for spit-roasting. Remember that Greek Easter lambs are very small (about 24 pounds). In the classic recipe, all the innards –heart, lungs, and so forth– go into the pot, but they do not really contribute to taste. The flavor of the stock comes from the boiled head and neck, and the soup gets its distinctive taste from scallions, fresh dill, and egg-and-lemon sauce. There are lots of different magiritsa recipes.

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A friend described to me the one her family prepared in Halki, a small island in the Dodecanese. In her family’s version, no innards are used because, on Halki as on all the Dodecanese islands, people do not roast the lamb on a spit, but slow roast it in a wood-burning oven, stuffing the cavity with rice and chopped innards. In Halki’s magiritsa, many lamb’s heads were boiled to make a very tasty stock. The heads were not boned, but as they cooked for many hours, even the bones softened. Each member of the family got one head and ate it with the broth. No scallions or dill were added to that unusual magiritsa. (more…)

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