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Turkish Lamb and Vegetable Soup

  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs

  • 4 fresh parsley sprigs

  • 4 black peppercorns

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 1/2 pounds lamb shank

  • 8 cups water

  • 3 cups chopped onion

  • 2 cups dried lentils

  • 2 cups thinly sliced celery

  • 2 cups thinly sliced carrot

  • 1 cup chopped leek

  • 1 cup dry red wine (or substitute)

  • 1 Tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried thyme

  • 3/4 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper

  • 8 tsp chopped fresh mint for garnish

  • 8 tsp red wine vinegar for garnish

Place first 4 ingredients on a double layer of cheesecloth together; tie securely. Trim fat from lamb shank. Place cheesecloth bag, lamb, and next 11 ingredients (lamb through crushed red pepper) in a large Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 2 hours or until lamb is tender. Discard cheesecloth bag.

Remove lamb from bone, and discard bone. Cut meat into bite-size pieces, and stir meat into soup. Spoon into shallow bowls, and sprinkle each serving with 1-teaspoon mint and 1-teaspoon vinegar.

Louisiana Green Gumbo:
Gumbo Z'Herbes

Yield: 8 to 10 good servings
Compare this authentic Louisianan gumbo with the delicious Arabic stew below and you will be amazed how good cooks in two cultures half way around the world have developed similar dishes.

1 pound fresh spinach OR 10 oz Package frozen leaf spinach
1 pound fresh mustard greens OR 10 oz Pkg frozen mustard greens (these have a rather hot flavor)
1 pound fresh turnip greens OR 10 oz Pkg frozen turnip greens (these have a sharp, strong flavor)
1 pound fresh collard greens OR 10 oz Pkg frozen collard greens (mild)
1/2 medium cabbage, (2-3 cups)shredded
2 bay leaves, minced
1 t Dried leaf basil
1 t Dried leaf thyme
1 t Dried leaf oregano
1/4 t Ground allspice
1/8 t Ground cloves
1/4 t fresh grated nutmeg
4 qt GOOD chicken stock
1 lb lean boneless pork
1 lb smoked ham
2/3 c vegetable oil
2 large onions, (2-3 cups)chopped
4 celery stalks with leaves, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
Salt to taste
Fresh ground black pepper
Cayenne pepper
24 Shucked oysters with liquor* (about 2 pints)
12 Green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 c Flat-leaf parsley, minced
3 1/2 T File powder (approximately)
5 c Hot cooked rice
Seasoning Mix for meat:
1/2 t Salt
1/2 t Fresh ground black pepper
1/2 t Cayenne pepper
1/2 t Paprika
1/2 t Onion powder or 1 tablespoon onion juice
1/2 t Garlic powder or 1 clove cushed garlic

Wash fresh greens; tear into small pieces. Remove large stalks and ribs. If using frozen greens, thaw and drain before proceeding. Place cleaned or thawed greens, cabbage, bay leaves, basil, thyme,oregano, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg into a large soup pot.

Add stock and enough water to cover greens by 3 inches. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover; simmer while preparing remaining ingredients.

Prepare Seasoning Mix. Cut pork and ham into bite-size pieces. Add meats to Seasoning Mix. Shake to coat lightly. Set seasoned meat aside while oil heats.

Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is very hot, add seasoned meat; stir until brown on all sides. Remove browned meat with a slotted spoon; add to simmering greens. Reduce heat to medium; add onions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic to skillet. Cook until vegetables are wilted, about 5 minutes. Remove vegetables with a slotted spoon; add to simmering greens. Stir in sugar; simmer, uncovered for one hour.

Season to taste with salt, black pepper and cayenne. Cover; simmer 2 hours. About 10 minutes before serving, GENTLY stir in oysters with their liquor, green onions, and parsley. Cook until edges of oysters curl. Spoon about 1/2 cup rice into each soup bowl. Spoon gumbo over rice; top with a pinch of file powder. Makes 8-10 good-sized servings.

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Green Vegetable Stew:
Ghormeh-Sabzi

8 servings

A delicious blend of green vegetables, meat and beans, this longcooking stew varies across the region with more or fewer vegetables, different meats. Thanks to the blender or food processor, the massive chopping up of the vegetables becomes easier. No matter how you fix it, it is grand.

  • fresh spinach (esfenAg) 2 pound bunch or 2 medium size package
  • fresh dill (sheveed) 1 bunch (about 1 cup chopped)
  • fresh parsley (ja`faree) 2 bunches (flat leaf is better- 2 cup packed)
  • fresh cilantro (geshneez), 2 bunch, (2 cups packed)
  • fresh leeks (tareh farangee) 2 pound bunch (use only the green stems).
  • fresh chives or garlic chives(tareh) 2 bunches, or substitute stems of two bunches of scallions (piAzcheh) (about 1 cup packed)
  • fresh fenugreek (shanbelileh) 2 bunches (about 1 cup packed), or substitute 2 tablespoons of dried shanbelileh
  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 pounds stew meat (beef, lamb, veal, etc.), cubed
  • 4-5 dried lemons (limoo amAnee) or,
  • 2 tablespoons dried lemon powder (gard-e leemo amAnee).
  • 2 medium onions, finely diced (2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric (zard choobeh) or Kuwaiti spice or mild curry powder
  • 4 cups broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)
  • 2 cups of pre-soaked dried beans, or substitute 20 ounces of frozen beans or 2 cans of drained and rinsed. Black eyed peas, small white beans or small red beans are traditional
  • 1 teaspoon each salt, pepper and crushed red peppers (if you like it spicy).

Rinse the meat and let it drain.

Cut off the heads of the leaks and scallions. Rinse all the greens thoroughly, remove tough stems and strain very dry.

Finely chop the vegetables, using a sharp knife or food processor. Pulse the processor so you get fine pieces, not puree. The smaller the pieces the better.

Cook over high heat, stirring very carefully, until the greens dry out and lose the green color. Add two tablespoons of cooking oil and continually stir fry the vegetables until they turn a brownish color, adding a bit more oil if needed. Take the pot off and put it aside. The cooking should take about 15 minutes. When finished, the vegetables resemble dried ones with no water remaining in the pot.

In a large stewing pot, add about one tablespoon of cooking oil and the chopped onions and stir fry until they turn a golden brown color. Add the meat, stir fry for a few minutes, add salt, pepper, red pepper and turmeric and let the meat fry with the onions for a few minutes. If you are using dried soaked beans, at this point drain them and add them to the mixture. Turn the heat setting to medium. To add the dried lemons, poke a hole in each of the dried lemons and add them to the mixture (or add the powdered kind).

Add about four cups (32 oz) of broth or water, place the lid on the pot and let it boil for another 15 minutes. Add the fried vegetables into the mixture, turn the heat setting to medium-low and let it cook about 1 hour. Half way through this period, if you are using canned beans, add them into the mixture. Once the meat is separated when poked by a fork, and the texture is unformly thick, the stew is ready. This stew is served over white rice.

If you like a sour taste, you may add a tablespoon of lemon juice towards the end of cooking.

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