Turkish LAMB Loin CHOPS with Middle Eastern spices

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Spring time is when our stores are bursting with lamb and I thought about  making a delicious recipe for Turkish Lamb Chops. We visited Turkey a few years ago and I just couldn’t get enough of all their delicious food. Their menus do contain a lot of grilled meats and Lamb is definitely a favorite.

You may know that I was born in the Middle East, in Abu Dhabi to be specific and spent my early adult life working and living in Dubai. Dubai is very cosmopolitan and besides being home to multiple nationalities from all over the world, it’s also a haven for it’s neighboring Arab nationals – Lebanese, Egyptians, Jordanians just to name a few …. and of course the Turks. The flavors of these Arab countries are similar but different and my palate has learned to seek them out and cherish them.

These chops are going to be given a royal Turkish treatment!

Turkish LAMB Loin CHOPS with Middle Eastern spices

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp Sumac
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • ½ Cinnamon
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 1 – 2 tbsps Pomegranate Molasses
  • 1 -2 tbsps Finely chopped Parsley,
  • Juice of a Lemon
  • 2 tbsps Olive Oil

Instructions

  1. Massage all the ingredients directly into the Lamb chops
  2. Sear it on both sides, before letting them cook in the oven - 20 mins for a med, more time if you’d like it medium well and 10 to 15 for med rare
  3. Rest for about 5 minutes and it’s ready to serve
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/turkish-lamb-loin-chops-middle-eastern-spices/

 

Middle Eastern inspired TURKEY – SPATCHCOCKED

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Gobble Gobble! Cooking a Turkey is synonymous with feeding people you love. I always like to try something different each Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday and this year I made a  Middle Eastern inspired Turkey. The bird is the star of the show and done right, it can be juicy and flavourful  I love Turkey but I’m not crazy about the long cooking time, so this year I decided to drastically cut down the cooking time by Spatchcocking the Turkey. This means I will remove the spine so the Turkey can lay flat and cook in less time than it usually does.

If you’re never cooked a Turkey before, be sure to check the cavity of the bird. This is usually where they stash the neck and other parts of the Turkey. Store this in your fridge. I always like to use a fresh bird and I always brine my Turkey for 24 hrs. Brining ensures that the Turkey is flavourful and moist. This is a simple mixture of salt and sugar in 4 litres of water. I like to throw in some lemon slices before I immerse my bird in a bucket or container large enough to hold the bird. If you don’t have enough room in your fridge to hold this large container, you can sit this on your kitchen counter in cold water for two hours, or just skip this step. After the brining process you need to dry the bird out really well, I like to leave it in a colander to drain and I will follow that with a tea towel and wipe all the excess moisture.  It’s important that your bird is dry, otherwise it will steam in the oven.

Spatchcocking the Turkey was a bit harder than I imagined, I have spatchcocked many a Chicken, but the Turkey bones are much tougher. To watch this video make sure to click the link in this post.

Once the Turkey was ready I prepared a wonderful spice blend with the best of Middle Eastern flavours.  My bird is about 12 lbs so I should be cooking this for about 3 hrs and 45 mins, but because it’s spatchcocked, it’s only going to take 1.5 to 2 hrs. I’m going to start at 350 and increase the heat to 450 when I take the lid off. If you find it’s browning too quickly in your oven, cut the heat back.

Middle Eastern inspired TURKEY – SPATCHCOCKED

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup each Salt & Sugar
  • Lemon & Lime slices
  • 4 litres Water
  • 2 tbsp Paprika
  • 2 tbsp Cayenne
  • 2 tbsp Sumac
  • 3 tbsps coarse Salt
  • 1 tbsp Pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh Parsley
  • 2 tbsp each Garlic & onion flakes
  • 10 tbsps Olive Oil
  • 4 tbsps Pomegranate Molasses
  • 12 lbs Turkey
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 green Pepper
  • 6 Mushrooms

Instructions

  1. If your bird is frozen, defrost it according to the package instructions and remove the neck, giblets etc from the cavity
  2. Prepare a brine by dissolving the salt and sugar into 4 litres of water with Lemon & Lime slices
  3. Immerse the bird in the brine and leave in the fridge covered for 24 hrs
  4. Drain all the brine, especially out of the cavity and dry the bird using paper towels
  5. If Spathcocking the Turkey, use a sharp kitchen scissors to cut along one side of the spine
  6. Turn the bird around and cut the other side, freeing the spine
  7. Jab the inside of the breast bone, turn the bird over and press down on the breast with your hands to flatten
  8. Prepare the spice blend by mixing together the Paprika, Cayenne, Sumac, Garlic powder, Onion flakes, Salt, Pepper, Olive Oil and Pomegranate Molasses
  9. Divide the paste into 3 and add chopped Parsley to one of them
  10. Try to lift the turkey skin very carefully and spread the Parsley mixture under the skin
  11. Use one third of the marinade to smear all over the Turkey and place in roasting pan
  12. Add the onion, green Pepper and the mushrooms to the bottom as well as the Turkey neck and gizzards
  13. Roast covered at 375 degrees for 40 mins covered and another 1.5 hrs open to brown the skin
  14. Baste with reserved marinade in between
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/middle-eastern-inspired-turkey-spatchcocked/

Arabic Party Salad

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Since I was born in the Middle East, these flavours touch my soul from the flavours and ingredients like Sumac, Pomegranate Molasses, Parsley, Thyme, Oregano, Paprika, Garlic, Lemon, Pickled Turnips and Halloumi of the Middle East are captured in one delicious and colourful salad. I love to make this in the summer time as an accompaniment to some BBQ’d meat or take this as a contribution to a pot luck. There are so many colours and textures in this salad that it’s literally a party on a plate.

Growing up in Abu Dhabi we got the most delicious Arabic food, from mouth watering kebabs, to creamy hummus and everything in between. And the Arabs do know how to party, take a trip into the desert for a night safari and you will taste the most amazing food cooked right in the outdoors.
 
This salad has a fair bit of prep work but is very easy to assemble at the last minute. It uses exotic ingredients like Zaatar and Halloumi and using the bbq to grill some of these really had a special flavour for the salad. Arabic Pita bread is a lot thinner that it’s more famous Greek counterpart. If you can’t find this, you can use Greek pita instead. This salad also includes Burghul wheat which is cracked wheat that gives a wonderful nutty flavour. To make this Gluten free, omit the Pita bread, or use Gluten free pita and omit the Burghul wheat and substitute it for Quinoa. Halloumi is an Arabic cheese made from Sheep milk. It has a very high melting point and can be grilled on the BBQ. I like to call it the ‘squeaky’ cheese as it makes a squeaky sound when you chew it.
Arabic Party Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp sumac
  • 1/2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup mixed Arugula & Baby Spinach
  • 1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup cucumber cubed
  • 1/4 cup cubed pickled turnips
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme & oregano
  • 1/4 cup chopped bottled red pepper
  • 1/4 cup sliced green olives
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/2 cup soaked bulgur wheat
  • 1 Arabic Pitas
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsps Zaatar spice
  • 200-300 gms Halloumi cheese

Instructions

  1. Brush the pita with Olive Oil and sprinkle with Zaatar
  2. Using a scissors, cut in quarters
  3. Cut the Halloumi (if the cheese is too salty, cut smaller)
  4. Grill both the Pita and the Halloumi – the Pita just needs to be crisp and the Halloumi should have nice grill marks
  5. Once cool, cube the Halloumi
  6. In a small bowl combine all the Salad dressing ingredients and mix
  7. In a larger bowl, combine all the ingredients except the Pita and the Halloumi, add as much dressing as desired and toss
  8. On a platter, place the Pita at the bottom, followed by the salad and top with the Halloumi
  9. Serve with reserved dressing
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/arabic-party-salad/

Spiced Couscous

Spiced Couscous

Watch my step by step video instructions

Spiced Couscous
Spiced Couscous

I was introduced to Couscous many years ago and love the ease of it’s preparation.Couscous are granules of durum wheat. It comes in various sizes and is popular in North Africa and the Middle East. It is cooked by soaking in hot water to rehydrate. This recipe is a spiced and flavorful version with paprika, cumin, tomato paste, sumac, pomegranate molasses and fresh parsley and mint and cucumber and tomatoes and red peppers. It is finished with crumbled feta cheese.
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In the summertime, we host a lot of BBQ’s and impromptu get togethers and I always lean towards this recipe to serve with my latest recipe off the grill. It screams summer and freshness!

Spiced Couscous

Ingredients

  • Ingredients
  • 2 cups medium couscous
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • Hot water
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 1 tsp pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tbsps finely chopped red onions
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped cucumbers
  • 1 cup chopped red peppers
  • 2 tbsps chopped olives
  • 1/2 cup each parsley and mint
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2-3 tbsps of crumbled feta cheese

Instructions

  1. Process
  2. Add salt, cumin and paprika to 2 cups of couscous in a bowl
  3. Adding hot water, cook the couscous - (see video)
  4. Leave for 10 mins covered and then fluff with a fork
  5. Let the couscous cool completely and then add all the other ingredients, mixing together after each addition.
  6. Serve cold.
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/spiced-couscous/