I've been in a restaurant rut lately. Two visits to Kona Grill proved disappointing and other smaller establishments failed to impress (I've made it a rule not to post negative reviews about locally owned neighborhood restaurants. ) The only place that I have found reliably good food lately is Cafe Rustica – lunch is always solid and my dinner last week of magret of duck with asparagus and gnocchi paired well with the tart sauce that accompanied it. The hubby ordered the same dish and couldn't stop talking about how he cleaned the plate of every last morsel.
Anyway, it's fortunate that most of my friends and family are fabulous cooks - and I mean AWESOME like why not open-your-own restaurant kind of awesome. Which is why I am more excited going to my sister-in-law's home for dinner than I am going out to a restaurant. My sister-in-law, M ,is so used to entertaining she can literally feed an army each time. And how she does it with minimum chaos in the kitchen is beyond me.
So when she invited us over for lunch this Sunday, I was more than willing to rearrange my baking schedule so we could attend. On the menu was jujeh (chicken) kabab which she marinated but left it to the grill master – the "Hungry" Hubby - to cook it on their grill. She also made khoresh-bademjan my favorite persian stew made of eggplants, tomatoes, beef & green "unripe" sour grapes. As if that was not enough she also made what could be the national dish of Iran called Gormeh -Sabzi an herb stew made of fenugreek, parsley, red beans,dried persian limes and beef. And of course there is always Polow – saffron rice.
What I have below is the recipe for Jujeh Kabab from the book, the New Food of Life by Najmieh Batmanglij - a recipe we've used at home. The HH and I noticed that his sister omitted the saffron and the lime juice from the marinade and tossed the cooked chicken in the saffron-lime mixture at the end.We wondered if this prevented the chicken from being chewy and the lime flavor to have more kick. I have yet to experiment with this alternative. In the meantime try this out if you are all so inclined. 🙂
1 tsp. ground saffron dissolved in 2 tbs. hot water
1 cup fresh lime juice
2 tbs. olive oil
2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tsps. salt
2 tsps. freshly ground black pepper
3 lbs. boneless chicken cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
5 medium tomatoes, halved
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
In a large bowl, combine half the saffron water and lime juice, 2 tbs olive oil, onions, salt and pepper. Beat well with a fork. Add the chicken pieces, cover and marinate for at least 6 hours and up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Turn the chicken twice during this period.
Preheat the grill.
Skewer the tomatoes. Skewer the chicken.
Add the juice of 1 lime and the remaining saffron water to the melted butter. Add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Mix well and set aside.
Paint the tomato and chicken with the bating mixture. Grill the chicken and tomatoes. The chicken is done when the juice that runs out is yellow rather than pink.
Serve with rice.
*pictures above taken with camera phone