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Maqlubah: Palestinian Chicken, Eggplant, and Rice Casserole

4 Feb

Maqlubah

This is a recipe that my friend Rami introduced to me.  Maqlubah means “upside-down” in Arabic and I have to say, the dish to be aptly named.  This yummy casserole consists of chicken, eggplant, tomatoes, rice, and various spices.  After fully cooked, you take the pot and turn it upside-down over a big pan resulting in a beautifully presented casserole.

Ingredients:

4 Chicken Thighs

1 Onion

2 Large Eggplants

3 Medium Tomatoes

7 Cloves of Garlic

1 1/2 Cups Rice (really, all of the rice you can fit is better!)

Allspice

Pepper

Salt

*Special Spices – rami had a spice mixture from home that he usually adds to his maqlubah.  You can find spices like this at a specialty food store online.  They are not necessary, but Rami says that is where all the magic is, so maybe it is worth the effort!

Instructions:

1. Take chicken thighs, wash in vinegar and salt (something my friend Rami also taught me!).  Take a pot with a small amount of oil, and sautee your chopped onions until slightly caramelized.  Add about 3 cups of warm water, then add the chicken, allspice, salt, pepper, and let sit and get tender in the pot for about 1.5 hours.

2. Cut up two large eggplants, creating thick, round slices.  Add plenty of salt and then sautee in a pan with olive oil.  Once each of the eggplant slices are fried until golden and soft, remove from the sauce pan and place on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the excess oil.

3.  Now it is time to prepare the rice for later.  Pour the rice into a bowl and wash off in warm water.

4. Now, cut up all of your tomatoes into round slices of medium thickness and peel the 7 cloves of garlic.  Put both in a skillet together with spices and sautee.

5. Grab a clean pot and layer chicken, eggplant, and tomato & garlic until none is left, adding all spices in between layers.  Now, add a few cups of broth from the steaming pot and add your cleaned rice.  Cover the pot and allow the rice to steam atop all of the vegetables and spices.

6.  Once the rice is tender, Take a large pan and flip your pot upside-down over the pan.  Use a spoon to knock on the sides of the pot to end up with a cute upside-down casserole with lots of colors and flavor.

This is a great dish if you are looking to try some delicious foreign delicacies.  It isn’t a quick meal to make, but it is honestly so good, it is worth the wait!  The chicken is fall off the bone tender and all of the flavors come together wonderfully!

Bon Appetite,

Leslie

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