Conquering Cuisine with Denis Chiappa
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The Amazing Flavors of Lebanon
Recipes and techniques from a great Middle Eastern cuisine

There’s little doubt that Lebanese food is one of the most popular of the Middle Eastern cuisines.  The country’s location, situated on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, and unique cultural history has contributed greatly to its food.  The most popular dishes reflect a mix of foreign and indigenous influences.  It’s a fascinating cuisine that deserves to be explored.

Menu:  Grilled Prawns with Sweet and Spicy Glaze; Lamb Crescents (Ground Lamb, Potato and Spices in Flaky Pastry); Cucumber and Chickpea Salad with Pomegranates, Feta and Herbed Dressing; Monkfish Tagine with Caramelized Onions, Tomatoes and Chermoula; Jeweled Rice with Dried Fruits, Almonds and Saffron Broth

Grilled Shrimp with Flatbreads and Sweet Pepper Spread

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 cloves garlic

2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon salt

2 pounds large shrimp

Warm pitas

Sweet Pepper Spread

  • Stir together oil, parsley, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt; toss with shrimp.
  • Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Grill shrimp, turning once, until just just cooked through.  Remove; serve with pitas and sweet pepper spread.

Sweet Pepper and Walnut Spread with Warm Pitas

1 cup chopped roasted peppers

¾ cup walnut halves, roughly chopped

2/3 cup fine bread crumbs

2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes

2 tablespoon olive oil

Sea salt and cracked pepper

  • Add to first nine ingredients to the bowl of a food processor; puree until finely chopped but not too smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Savory Crescents

2-2/3 all-purpose flour

2 sticks cold butter, diced

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

1 pound ground beef or lamb

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, minced

2 tablespoons raisins

2 tablespoons pine nuts

1 tablespoon Moroccan spice mix

1 batch pie dough

Egg wash

Sesame seeds

  • Add flour, butter and salt to the bowl of a food processor; pulse until it reaches a sand-like texture. Continue pulsing, adding a little water at a time, until it forms a ball.  Remove from processor, flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic.  Let stand, refrigerated, for 45 minutes.
  • Bring a skillet to medium-high heat. Cook the meat, breaking up with a spoon, until nicely browned and cooked through. 
  • Reduce heat to medium and add the oil. Cook the onions until nicely caramelized.  Add back the reserved lamb, raisins, pine nuts and spice mix.  Let cool completely.
  • Roll dough out into a sheet about 1/8-inch thick. Cut into rounds.  Place a dollop of filling in the center of each round; fold into a semi-circle and crimp to seal.  Transfer to a baking sheet, brush with egg wash and top with sesame seeds.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake until golden; serve warm or at room temperature.

Pomegranate, Cucumber and Chickpea Salad Feta and Dill Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons vinegar

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

2 tablespoons minced chives

1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced

1 package cherry tomatoes, halved

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

½ cup crumbled feta

¼ cup sliced almonds

Salt and pepper

  • Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mint and chives; season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Add the cucumber, tomatoes, chickpeas, feta and almonds to a mixing bowl. Stir in dressing; adjust seasoning and serve.

Fish Tagine with Onions, Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 large onions, thinly sliced

4 hot red pepper, seeded and sliced

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 (28-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon curry powder

2 cups vegetable stock

1½ pounds firm white fish

¼ cup fresh herbs (parsley, mint, chives, etc.)

Cooked couscous

Salt and pepper

  • Add oil to a heavy, oven safe saute pan and bring to medium heat. Cook the onions, peppers and garlic until completely softened; stir in curry powder and cook 1 minute more.  Add the tomatoes and stock and bring to a gentle simmer.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Add fish to the pan; cover and transfer to oven.  Bake 15 minutes.  Remove and let stand 10 minutes.  Serve with warm couscous.

Jeweled Rice with Dried Fruits, Almonds and Saffron Broth

4 cups vegetable stock

1 teaspoon saffron

2 cups basmati rice

Zest of 1 orange

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

¾ cup slivered almonds

½ cup shelled pistachios

1 teaspoon adveh

1 cup golden raisins

1 tablespoon finely chopped mint

3 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

  • Bring stock and saffron to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the rice and zest, bring back to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until cooked, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat; fluff with a fork.
  • Heat oil in a small skillet. Toast nuts until fragrant; remove from heat and stir in adveh.  Let cool.
  • Transfer rice to a mixing bowl. Stir in nuts, raisins and mint.  Toss with olive oil; season with salt and pepper.


1 tablespoon allspice

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon clove

1 tablespoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon ground fenugreek

1 tablespoon ground dry ginger

  • Mix; store in an airtight container.




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