Okay – had dinner last night at hands-down the best Middle-Eastern restaurant I’ve been to since I moved to NYC. Nestled on Third Avenue in neighboring Bay Ridge, Tanoreen is a must.
Owned by chef Rawia Bishara, who circulates the restaurant throughout the evening checking to make sure every table is happy and enjoying themselves, Tanoreen has been reviewed by the NY Times and listed in the “Best of NY” in New York Magazine on more than one occasion.
One of the great dishes we had last night was Muhammara – a delicious blend of walnuts, pomegranate and red peppers. While we can’t get our hand’s on Rawia’s recipe for it – here is Paula Wolfert’s (from the great website: Leite’s Culinaria), the author of “The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean.”
Paula Wolfert’s “The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean”
2 and half pounds of sweet bell red peppers
1 small hot chili pepper
1 and 1/2 cup of walnuts
1/2 cup wheat crackers
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses (If you search at the top of the page, I’ve included a recipe for this elsewhere on this site)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
salt to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
Click here for directions.
Matthew Goodman’s “Jewish Food: The World at Table” is a great book. He’s got a great range of recipes from all over the world, as the title indicates, and they are unfussy, and delicious. Below is a favorite, from p. 162.
“Culinarily, the best way of using pomegranates may be with pomegranate molasses, a fixture in the cookery of Jews from Syria, Iran and Iraq. A thick, brown, syrup, pomegranate molasses has a tangily sour taste with a slight undertone of sweetness. It’s used to flavor the sweet-and-sour dishes prominent in the cuisine of the region, in much the same way as tamarind concentrate;to my taste though, pomegranate molasses is more pleasing, fruitier and less powerfully acerbic.
Above – Grilled Quail in Pomegranate Molasses; click here.
Perhaps the most well known of the dishes using pomegranate molasses is in the Iranian pomegranate and walnut sauce called fesenjan. It is most commonly made with duck, though it can also be made with chicken, quail or even meatballs. In my adaptation of fesenjan, I’ve added fresh figs, whose lush sweetness helps to balance the astringency of the pomegranate molasses (which can be purchased at most Middle Eastern groceries).”
Click here for a recipe to make your own Pomegranate Molasses at home.
- 1 chicken, 3-4 lbs.; cut into 8 pieces or 4 split breasts
- fresh ground pepper
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 cut finely chopped walnuts
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 12 fresh figs, quartered
- 1/3 cup pomegranate molasses
- 2 tbsp. honey
- Rinse chicken and pat dry; Season well with salt and pepper
- Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until browned on all sides. Remove and drain on paper towels
- Lower heat to medium, then add onion to pan and cook, stirring often until soft and transluscent; Lower heat to medium-low and add walnuts; Cook stirring regularly, until they begin to change colors. About 3 minutes
- Add chicken stock, figs, pomegranate molasses, and honey and mix well. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Return the chicken to the pan and simmer, uncovered, until cooked through, about 35 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a large serving platter and pour the sauce over it. Serve hot.
Great fast autumn salad. You could do apples instead of pears (but why? pears are SO good!), or pecans instead of walnuts (but walnuts are SO healthy for you) and feta instead of goat cheese (but – don’t – goat cheese is just…yum). I’m not so into the whole cranberry thing – but I could see that working for some folks here. Enjoy.
- 1 package of baby arugula
- A bunch of walnuts (1/3-1/2 cup maybe?); candied (need a bit of brown sugar)
- 2 bosc pears
- crumbled goat cheese (as much as you like)
- 3 Persian cucumbers
- 3 tomatoes (get rid of the seeds)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 clove of garlic – pressed
- sprinkle of sugar – or some OJ; or 1 tbsp. rasberry jam
- The key here is “emulsifying” the dressing – blending really does make a huge difference. So – blend vinegar, garlic, sugar (or substitute) adding olive oil.
- The rest is self explanatory. Enjoy.