Monday, November 21, 2011

Egyptian Fattah

Bread, rice, and meat topped with a spicy, garlicy tomato sauce. 

This is a traditional dish served during the holiday called Eid el Adha. There are several steps but all pretty easy. The meat of your choice (beef, lamb, goat) is boiled in water to both stew and make a broth. This broth is poured over small pieces of pita bread, soaking up all the flavor. The bread is topped with white rice and a spicy tomato sauce infused with fresh toasted minced garlic. This is a favorite in our house and one I am always asked to repeat. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!


For the meat:
1-2 lb stew meat of your choice (beef, lamb, goat)
1 medium onion, grated
1 garlic clove, halved
salt, black pepper, oregano, 2 bay leaves

For the garlic mix:
1 tbsp butter
6 large cloves garlic, minced (don't count the wimpy ones as 1)
a splash of white vinegar

For the sauce:
2 cups of crushed tomatoes (I used half of a 28 oz can)
salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes

2 single pita breads
1 cup uncooked jasmine or basmati rice

If you are pressed for time, then prepare the meat the night before you are planning to eat this. Cut the meat into cubes, trim fat, rinse under water, pat dry and place in a lightly oiled and heated dutch oven. Grate the onion over the meat. Add 1 clove of garlic halved, some salt, black pepper, oregano, and 2 bay leaves. Cover with water. Let boil for 1 hour with lid half way on to produce broth. Transfer the pot, with lid on, to a 350 degree oven and continue to cook the meat until tender, adding more water if needed. Cook for 1 and 1/2 - 2 hours depending on the type of meat. Let cool. Refrigerate.

The next day, heat the dutch oven over medium just to warm the broth and re-heat the meat. 

In the meantime, tear the pita breads into small pieces. Put in a casserole dish. (NOT a glass Pyrex please- bad, bad, experience before.) Toast in 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until crisp but not burnt.

While the bread is toasting, melt 1 tbsp butter in a saucepan and add the minced garlic, 6. Toast until fragrant. Add a splash of vinegar. Stir. Watch your eyes!

Now take the bread out of the oven and pour a few ladles of the warmed broth over the bread. NOTE: Make sure the broth is warm otherwise the Pyrex, if using (I do not recommend), will shatter.  Add half of the toasted garlic. Mix. Most of the broth will get absorbed, so add a few more ladles. Return to oven. Cook for a few minutes so that the bread can soak up the broth like this:

While that is happening, add the crushed tomatoes to the remaining toasted garlic that is in the saucepan. Season with salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes (make as spicy as you want). Let simmer on low heat, covered, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.

Ahhh we forgot to cook the rice.  So now you need to prepare the rice using any method* you like. But first make sure that you take the bread out of the oven!

*This is how I make rice: Heat a pot on medium-high and add 1 tbsp butter. Add in 1 cup uncooked rice. Stir for a few minutes to lightly toast. Add 2 cups water. Add some salt to season. Bring to a boil. When the water is mostly absorbed (level with the rice), reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 20-25 minutes until cooked. Fluff with a fork.

Once the rice is done you are ready to layer everything. Add a little more broth to the bread, just to moisten it a bit more. Spread the cooked rice over the bread. Drizzle with spicy tomato sauce, saving some for individual servings, then add the meat on top. Serve with cucumber and tomato salad and more tomato sauce.

Source: daliasdelights original
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