Sunday, February 28, 2016

Lebanese Dinner (Shish Taouk, Lebanese Rice Pilaf, and Loubieh Bzeit)

I'm sad to say that until now I have never tried Lebanese cuisine. I have been missing out on some darn good food!! 
So. Much. Flavor.
I did a little research on some Lebanese dishes and was surprised how close they are to both Indian and Greek food. I definitely need to start cooking more Middle Eastern recipes. 
I went with a Lebanese Rice Pilaf - which was super easy and incredibly tasty, Shish Taouk - which is a spicy marinated chicken served with a spicy yogurt garlic sauce, and Loubieh Bzeit - which is green beans, tomato, onions, and garlic, and some pita bread. 
We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
First up - Shish Taouk

Shish Taouk (Tawook)
(Ever-so-slightly adapted from The Spice Kitchen)

8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 wooden skewers, soaked in water

1 cup 0 fat Greek yogurt, plain
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp paprika

Garlic Yogurt Sauce
1 cup 0 fat Greek yogurt, plain
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, finely diced (or grated)
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp salt

Prepare chicken - Chop each breast into 8 chunks. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine marinade ingredients and mix well. Add in the chicken and toss well to coat.

Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, up to overnight. 
Prepare Garlic Yogurt Sauce - in a mixing bowl, stir together the "Garlic Yogurt Sauce" ingredients (as listed above). 

Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. 
When chicken has done marinating - Place 8 chunks of chicken on each of the 8 skewers. Place on wire rack on cookie tray lined with tinfoil or a Silpat.

Preheat oven to 425.
Bake chicken for 7 minutes, flip over then about 7 minutes more (until chicken is cooked). I then put it under the broiler for 2 minutes just to brown it up a bit. 
Remove from heat and serve with garlic yogurt sauce. (I put it on top put you can serve it on the side too.)

Lebanese Rice Pilaf
(Ever-So-Slightly adapted from The Lemon Bowl)

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup (heaping) vermicelli pasta broken into 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice, well rinsed
3 cups boiling water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
fresh parsley

In a large, deep frying pan heat the butter over medium heat. When melted, add in the broken vermicelli and stir frequently until well browned. (Don't walk away and leave the pan - you don't want to burn the noodles!) Add in the well rinsed rice and cook, stirring often for another 3 minutes. 

Carefully pour in the boiling water and stir once. Add salt and pepper and stir again. 
Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve hot. 

And. last but certainly not least, 

Loubieh Bzeit

3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp canola oil
3 medium onions, finely diced
1 lb green beans (ends trimmed, beans halved)
10 garlic gloves, peeled & halved
5 medium tomatoes, seeded, finely diced
1 tsp salt
dash of cayenne pepper

In a large pot over medium heat, add the oil and let heat. Add in the onions and saute until transparent. Add in the green beans and cook and stir until green beans start to wilt - about 2 or 3 minutes. Add in the garlic and stir to combine. 
Reduce heat to medium/low and simmer for 10 minutes - until beans appear almost cooked). Stir the vegetables every so often to prevent any sticking to the bottom of the pot. 
Add in the tomatoes, salt, and pinch of cayenne.

Stir well. Cover pot, reduce to low heat, and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes. 
Serve hot.

How I did the entire meal together:
1.) I made up the marinade and put the chicken in it in the morning then set in the fridge. I also made up the Garlic Yogurt Sauce and set it in the fridge. 
2.) At 3:45 I  prepped the rest of the ingredients - ie: chopped the onion and garlic, tomatoes, trimmed the beans, broke up the vermicelli, rinsed the rice. (This all took about 30 or so minutes) 
3.) At about 4:15 I preheated the oven and also started the Loubieh Bzeit in the pot. I made it to the stage where it simmers for 10 minutes.
4.) While veggies were simmering I melted the butter in another pan and started toasting the vermicelli. I then finished to the simmering stage for the rice. 
5.) I then added the tomatoes, etc... to the green beans and covered the pot to simmer again. 
6.) While the 2 pots were simmering, I then started the chicken to cook.
I believe everything was ready to eat by about 4:50 - 5:00 pm.
There you have it.
They are all finished at about the same time. If one finishes before the other simply turn the heat off and leave covered on the burner. 

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