Thursday, February 9, 2012

la Chawba

My favorite part of having a cooking blog is the excuse to invite myself over and learn other people's specialties. The problem is that generally, these recipes will never be the same twice, BUT this is one is a Ramadan specialty from an Algerien-French friend named Sabrina and everything in it is so good, I think it would be pretty hard for it to go too wrong. Merci, Sabrina!! A pillar of hospitality...

There are two basic ways to do this: if you have a pressure cooker, and if you don't. I don't, so it is much easier to leave out the meat.

1 large onion, finely diced
a large handful of chopped up celery stems and leaves
2 spoonfuls dry lentils
1 large spoonful of black pepper
1 large spoonful of cumin
1 large spoonful of ginger
1 large spoonful of saffron powder
1 large spoonful of red pepper powder
1-2 large spoonfuls of chopped parsley
a large dose of oil
a pound or so of cubed meat of your choice, veal and mutton are especially good, add another cube of bouillon if its veal or beef

2 liters water, after sautéeing

Sautée all this for a few minutes. Add the water. If you are using a pressure cooker, close it tightly and heat it up to medium/medium high. Once it starts singing, leave it for about 20-25 minutes, until the meat is cooked. If you're not using the pressure cooker, bring it to a boil, turn down to a simmer, cover, and start checking after about 20 minutes to see if it's all cooked. If there is no meat, it shouldn't take too much longer.

1/2 c vermicelle (those thin noodley things)
1 can of chickpeas, drained
1 large spoonful of rice
1 cube of bouillon
1 can tomato purée, or something like that. Other purées are better, but whatevs. a cup or two, in that case

Add II when I is cooked and let simmer for another 10 or 15 minutes, until the rice and vermicelle are cooked.

1 bowl of water
2 huge spoonfuls of flour or cornstarch

Mush this up into a white mush and start pouring this into the soup a bit at a time, stirring continuously, until it is the consistency that you want. This is optional, as its really only meant to thicken the soup. Yum yum

Perfect with a squeeze of lemon!!

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