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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Three Lenten Recipes: Potato and Poblano Stew, Besan Chila & Potato Kibbeh

Potato and Poblano Stew

10 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded
1/4 cup sunflower seed oil or other vegetable oil
2 large onions, diced
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
10 garlic cloves, minced
5 pounds potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 1/2-inch chunks
salt and pepper, to taste
12 cups vegetable stock or water
crumbled panela or other Mexican cheese, to serve
chopped cilantro, to serve
lime wedges, to serve

Chop the chiles coarsely.

Heat the oil in a wide pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the coriander, cumin, garlic, and potatoes, followed by the chiles, along with 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt and stir. Cook together a few minutes, then raise the temperature and add the stock or water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer.

Cook and cover until the potatoes are completely softened, about 25 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Mash a few of the potatoes to make a creamy sort of broth for the soup.

Serve with crumbled panela, chopped cilantro and lime wedges.

Besan Chila

I found this recipe linked on a Lenten group last year or the year before, but hadn't made it until this year. The recipe was great, though the lady's proportions were vastly off and I had to make many adjustments. The vegan ideologue recipe author who posted this recipe on her blog was, evidently, never taught not to call food gross or other epithets, so the recipe came complete with self-righteous judgement and criticism of any animal products which put me off quite a bit. It is often easier to look for vegan recipes for Lent, even though the strictest rules for Lent aren't absolutely vegan (honey and shellfish are alright, which are definitely not vegan, but olive oil isn't, which is vegan), just because they are a good starting place. This recipe comes with correct ratios and no implicit lectures on your evil, meat eating ways.

3 cups chick pea flour (besan at an Indian market)
1 small onion, chopped finely
1 pound frozen sliced peppers, chopped in a food processor
1/2 pound finely chopped and seeded tomatoes
1 inch long piece of ginger, peeled and minced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 heaping teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups warm water
oil to fry, not much, similar to the amount necessary for frying pancakes

Mix everything to the cayenne pepper and let sit to allow some of the liquid to come out of the vegetables. Add 2 cups of water until it is the consistency of uncooked scrambled eggs, mixing thoroughly.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat, until it is hot, add some oil (better too little than too much), pour the batter by half cup scoops into the oil and fry on both sides. I did serve some harissa with it, but any hot sauce would be fine, like my green hot sauce, or like the Indian sauce made with cilantro and mint. Rich offered a cucumber, tomato and onion salad to go with this meal, and that was lovely.

This was so easy, quick to make, and almost perfectly Lenten (if you are avoiding all oil, and not just olive oil, then it isn't).

Potato Koubbeh

I started with a recipe a lady shared on a Lenten recipe board. I changed up some of the proportions, and the seasonings quite a bit. There weren't really any guidelines on seasoning the filling, so I used the kind of spices I would use for meat kibbeh, kind of mashed up with the seasoning I use for fatayir filling. This is much better than the other potato kibbeh I tried some years back. My one warning is that you cannot trust your taste with the crust seasoning. Be careful not to over salt it.

3 pounds white potatoes
3 large onions, peeled and grated
3 cups medium bulgur wheat
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper

olive oil
1 cup pine nuts
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sumac
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
about a pound of spinach
juice of one lemon

Peel potatoes, boil in salted water, and mash while still warm. Cool and refrigerate overnight. Soak bulgur wheat at least 30 minutes in cold water; drain well and squeeze out water. Add wheat and remaining ingredients to mashed potatoes. Mix well with hands and set aside.

Sauté onions and pine nuts in 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil until golden. Stir in coriander, salt, cumin, and sumac. Wash, chop and drain spinach. Add to onion with garlic and parsley, toss together, and steam until wilted. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Add lemon juice.

Divide potato mixture in half. Pat one-half of mixture into bottom of a 9” x 13” pan. Flatten mixture and spread spinach filling on top. Cover with remaining potato mixture. Pat smooth with water-moistened hand. Score tray into diamond shapes using a sharp knife. First cut six equal strips down the length of the tray, then diagonal lines 1 1/2” apart. Pour 1/2 cup olive oil evenly over top of cut kibbeh and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, until golden.

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