Repeat Recipe

Eggplant Caviar | Muhammara | Persian Sour Cherry Saffron Rice | Chicken Shish Kebab (Tavuk Sis Kebap)

We had some friends over for dinner last week and I decided to make a Persian/Middle Eastern dinner. I made two repeat recipes and two new appetizers. Everything turned out fabulous, and we all left the table happy.

Eggplant Caviar

Eggplant Caviar Bertha Mann

1 large eggplant
⅓ cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

“Smooth broiled eggplant accented with chopped onion, olive oil, and dill. You can adjust the seasonings to your liking. Serve in a pita or as a dip for bread.”


Original recipe yield: 2 cups

1. Preheat oven to broiler setting.
2. Wash eggplant thoroughly, then pierce skin with a fork in several places. Place on a baking sheet and broil in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until soft. Turn eggplant over and broil for an additional 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and slice in half.
3. Scoop out eggplant pulp with a spoon and place in a medium bowl. Mix in onion, olive oil, dill, salt, and pepper. Serve hot or cold.

MacGourmet Rating: 4 Stars

This dip was fantastic! Andy over at the CLBB suggested sprinkling some feta on top, and that really made for a nice presentation. I didn’t use fresh breadcrumbs and I can’t imagine that it made much of a difference because this disappeared from the table so quickly!


Gourmet December 1993

7-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained
⅔ cup fine fresh bread crumbs
⅓ cup walnuts, toasted lightly and chopped fine
2 to 4 garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses*
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
toasted pita triangles as an accompaniment

In a food processor blend together the peppers, the bread crumbs, the walnuts, the garlic, the lemon juice, the pomegranate molasses, the cumin, the red pepper flakes, and salt to taste until the mixture is smooth and with the motor running add the oil gradually. Transfer the muhammara to a bowl and serve it at room temperature with the pita triangles.

Makes about 1 3/4 cups.

MacGourmet Rating: 5 Stars

I was going to try making the rice in my rice cooker this time, but I didn’t want to risk messing it up when we were having dinner guests, so I made it as directed. It turned out fantastic – once again! And as a bonus, I used soy butter so that Dino could enjoy seconds (and thirds!) of this dish without having any lactose issues.

Persian Sour Cherry Saffron Rice

Persian Sour Cherry Saffron Rice
Jaden’s Steamy Kitchen

1 jar 24-oz of sour cherries in light syrup (or 1 can sour pie cherry, light
syrup), drained and syrup reserved
½ teaspoon saffron, soaked in 2 tablespoons hot water
3 cups basmati rice
½ cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar

Drain your cherry syrup directly into a small saucepan. You’ll boil this syrup down later.

1. Soak the rice: Wash and soak the basmati rice in water for 2 hours. This step is not totally necessary, but it does produce a more tender rice.

2. Make the rice: Drain the rice. Fill a large pot with water and boil. Add the rice and boil on medium heat for 8 minutes exactly. Drain the rice and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking. Drain.

In the same pot over high heat, add half of the butter. When hot:
Add half of the drained rice
Pour half of the saffron+soaking water over the rice
Stir a bit
Add half of the drained cherries
Add remaining rice
Pour rest of saffron+ soaking water
Add remaining butter
Stir just this layer a bit
Add the remaining drained cherries

*Traditionally, this is done in a pyramid shape. I’m not coordinated enough to handle that request. The wider the pan you have, the more crusty rice crust you get.

Wrap your lid with a thin kitchen towel and cover the pot. This helps the steam stay in the pot, which is important because you aren’t adding any additional liquid to the pot. Cook on high for 10 minutes (to create a nice crunchy crust). Turn heat down to super-low for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

3. Make the syrup: While rice is cooking, cook syrup + 1 cup sugar over medium heat for 30 minutes until it reduces down to a sweet, sticky syrup. Set aside.

4. Serve: When the rice is done, drizzle 1/2 cup of the syrup over the rice. See the nice crust of rice at the bottom of the pan? Its well known that household bribery, deception and wars have erupted over who gets to eat that part!

MacGourmet Rating: 5 Stars

I made this chicken kebab recipe again, and this time I did it in the broiler. it turned out awesome! I forgot to take a new picture, but here’s one from the last time I made this winner:

Chicken Shish Kebab (Tavuk Sis Kebap)

Chicken Shish Kebab (Tavuk Sis Kebap)
Binnur’s Turkish Cookbook

350 gr chicken breast, boneless, cut in medium sized cubes
2 large tomatoes, cut in halves
2 cubanelle pepper
½ cup plain yogurt
½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon red pepper, powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 clove, garlic smashed with salt
1 teaspoon pomegranate paste
2 tablespoons olive oil

Marinate the chicken overnight in the fridge in a container with a lid. Bring the chicken to room temperature one hour before grilling. Divide up the chicken cubes and place on four skewers.

Preheat the barbecue or oven (grill). Place the skewers on the rack along with the peppers, tomato halves (inside up). Keep the marinade aside. Grill the chicken for about 7-8 minutes. Make sure to turn the skewers so that all sides are cooked equally. Every time you turn the chicken, brush with marinade.

Serve the Chicken Kebab on Turkish Rice Pilaf, lemon wedges, roasted tomatoes and Cubanelle peppers (remove the skin).

Makes 2 servings.

MacGourmet Rating; 5 Stars

I also made a yogurt salad on the side (I always have to have that and pita with any Persian/Middle Eastern dinner) and this time I used fresh dill since I had some from the Eggplant Caviar. It’s plain yogurt, dill, salt & pepper, a drizzle of honey, seedless cucumber, and a squirt of lemon juice. YUM!

Yogurt Cucumber

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