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Saturday, January 30, 2021

Recipe Round Up: Rouz Araby (or Saleeq), Dark Chocolate Cherry Cookies, Cashew "Brutal," and Mock Turtles


Rouz Araby

This is a simple, barely spiced, soft rice dish that is a national dish of Saudi Arabia. It is easy to digest, warm and comforting, and often one of the first foods children eat. My mother used to make this when I wasn't feeling well, and it is relatively quick to make and tasty. If you are smart, you can put the spices into a tea ball or scrap of cheesecloth so it is easy to fish out of the rice when you are finished. If you are like me, you can just forget all of that and leave it in and eat around it when you serve the rice and chicken. Some people don't make the broth with the onion, but I think it adds a good flavor to the dish, and rather than discard it, I broil it along with the chicken and serve it.

This dish is commonly made with either lamb or chicken, but I grew up with it using chicken, so that is what I have directed here. Another thing about this recipe is that it is a great way to stretch a small amount of chicken over a lot of people. This makes enough for our family of ten (half of whom are adult sized), with leftovers enough for lunch for a few people. It is easy to cut it in half, if your family is smaller. I buy the Egyptian rice at an Arabic market in Spokane, but if you don't have one in your town or a nearby city, you can order it online. This recipe can be halved.

3 pounds bone in, skin on, chicken pieces (I like to use leg quarters, thighs, or drumsticks)
6 whole cardamom pods
1 teaspoon mastic (also known as Arabic gum - not to be confused with gum Arabic)
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 large onion, peeled and halved, almost to the root end, but leaving the onion in one piece
3 quarts cool water
2 quarts whole milk (plus up to 4 cups more)
4 cups Egyptian rice (or another short grain rice), washed and drained
1/2 cup ghee or clarified butter, divided
salt and pepper, to taste
juice of a lemon, to serve

Place the chicken, cardamom, mastic, kosher salt, and onion in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Cover with 3 quarts of water and bring to a boil, skimming carefully to remove impurities, while leaving the spices in the pot (see my note above on how to make this simpler for yourself). Boil for 30 minutes, then take off the heat.

Remove the chicken and onion with a slotted spoon to a baking sheet. Some liquid from the pot will be in the pan, and that is fine. Brush with about 1 tablespoon of the clarified butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Add milk and rice to the broth remaining in the pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low, and cover partially (I leave the spoon in the pot and put the lid on off center), stirring occasionally. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes, then stir well. Do not allow the rice to burn. If it looks too dry, you can add a little more milk at this point, up to 4 cups more. Replace the cover and allow to cook another 15 minutes.

Preheat your broiler on high and place the chicken in the oven to broil for about 20 - 30 minutes while the rice finishes.

At the end of the second 15 minutes, stir in the remaining clarified butter to the rice and cook uncovered over low for another 10 minutes. Taste for salt and season, if necessary. Serve on a flat platter, placing the crisp chicken on top and drizzling with the clarified butter and chicken juices. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the chicken.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Cookies

These cookies began with a Martha Stewart recipe, but I honestly thought it had too much chocolate in it, so I took some out and then fiddled with the recipe some more. This is how we like them, and they are dark and chocolatey, without being overwhelming.

1 3/4 cups pastry flour
1 1/4 cups Dutch process cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla brandy or extract
1 1/2 cups dried sour cherries

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In bowl of electric mixer, cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until well combined. Add flour mixture, and beat on low until just combined. Fold in cherries with spatula or wooden spoon.

Scoop balls of dough, about a tablespoon each, and place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake until puffed and cracked, about 10 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and cool completely. Store in airtight container at room temperature, up to three days. Can be frozen.

Cashew Brutal

Microwave Cashew Brutal

This is one of the only reasons I keep a microwave. It is also one of only two recipes in which I use any sort of corn syrup. This recipe isn't entirely fail safe, but it is pretty close. Our microwave is pretty weak, so I have added a minute to my times here. If your microwave is a more powerful model, you may wish to use 4 minutes, 4 minutes, and 2 minutes, rather than the times I mention here.

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup raw cashews (must be raw, it toasts in the microwave)
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Grease a sheet pan with butter and set aside.

Add sugar, corn syrup, salt and cashews to a buttered microwave safe dish (I used a 8-cup measuring bowl).

Microwave for 5 minutes and then stir and microwave for another 5 minutes.

Add the butter and stir, then microwave for another 3 minutes.

Add the baking soda and vanilla (it will foam up) and stir until it is no longer foamy. Pour onto a buttered baking sheet and spread a little to make it thin.

Alow to cool and then break into little pieces to serve.

Mock Turtles

We feel particularly clever for naming these candies this. They are a great sweet and salty treat, simple for children to make, and quick for unexpected gifts. They slightly resemble the actual chocolate caramel turtle candies, thus the name.

Equal numbers of:
Rolo candies
pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Set out a jelly roll or sheet pan and arrange pretzels in one layer. Place a single Rolo in the center of each pretzel.

Bake for 3 minutes. Remove pan from oven immediately. Press a single pecan half into each chocolate. Allow to cool completely, then serve. That's it!

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