A Fresh and Easy Lebanese Meal

I’ve discovered a few personal cooking principles over the years.  I avoid making dishes that require more than two pots.  Nothing you might also see on a plate of chicken wings can be involved (e.g. ranch dressing, celery, fiery orange buffalo sauce).  Fruit is not a valid dessert.  Luckily, my mom got me a Lebanese cookbook for Christmas that includes many recipes that meet my criteria.

Rose Water and Orange Blossoms

Rose Water and Orange Blossoms by Maureen Abood

I used two of them to make easy meal you can pull together in half an hour or so.

Fattoush Salad and Hushweh

Hushweh and Fattoush

Hushweh is a mixture of rice, chicken, ground beef or lamb, and toasted almonds.  It’s seasoned with cinnamon, and you stir in several tablespoons of butter at the end that make the chicken nice and juicy — it’s perfect for a cold winter night.  I’ve adapted the ingredient list to use a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken instead of roasting your own.  Whatever you do, I’d advise against trying to butcher a raw chicken with a steak knife.

Hushweh ingredients:
1 rotisserie chicken (3-4 pounds), shredded (note: you can use only the white meat if you want; it will still be enough)
4 tablespoons salted butter
1 pound ground beef or lamb
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp kosher salt
Black pepper
1 cup (uncooked) white rice
2 cups chicken broth
1 cinnamon stick
3/4 cup slivered blanched almonds, toasted in butter (simply melt some butter in a skillet over medium-low and throw the nuts in, stirring often, until they turn golden-brown).

Almonds

Toasting almonds

This makes about 10 servings, so you may want to cut the recipe in half.  You can skip to the third paragraph if you’re using a rotisserie chicken.

Hushweh Recipe

Hushweh recipe by Maureen Abood

 

You can make the fattoush salad while the rice is simmering.

Chop up these ingredients for your salad:
Romaine lettuce
Tomatoes
Cucumbers
Fresh mint
Radish
Green bell pepper
Onion
Pita chips (I used Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips, but any kind works)

Whisk these ingredients together for the dressing (makes 2-3 servings):
Fattoush dressing traditionally includes sumac, a spice made from dried berries, but sumac and pomegranate molasses aren’t widely available at regular grocery stores. You can order them on Amazon or just use option B, which I pulled from another recipe in the cookbook, instead.

Option A
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp pomegranate molasses
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp dried mint
1 tsp sumac
3 tablespoons olive oil

Option B
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp garlic powder
Black pepper to taste

I also added some pita bread and hummus on the side.  This post took approximately one million years because there is no natural light with which to take photographs in my kitchen, so I hope you like it.

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