03 November 2009
Jordanian Seven-Spice Veal
There's someone up there I'd like you to meet. No, not that tender meat, but the hand stirring the meat. That there is the boy who spends a lot of time in my kitchen, who gives me encouraging hugs when I'm sad, who happily eats seconds of the bread pudding I thought was just ok, and who makes one mean pear-walnut pie.
It is always a little awkward introducing boyfriends in the blogosphere. What if they disappear, what if you have to write about it online, what if, what if. But all relationships are gambles, and I'm not saying I know how this one is going to turn out. I do know that this one is worth betting on, that he makes me immensely happy, and that I want him to be my regular recipe tester, kiss-giver, and pie-maker for some time.
Paul was in Jordan over the summer, and in between drinking delicious mint lemonade and asking me how to order a mixed grill, he became enamoured of a dish at a local restaurant. The dish involves veal or lamb sauteed with onions and tomatoes and with a traditional Middle Eastern 7-Spice mixture. It's a very simple dish but it really shows off the magic of seven spices- allspice, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, nutmeg.
Paul talked about this so much he decided to replicate it at home. We used veal, though lamb would be good also (and before you start yelling about veal, you can check this out). The only step I changed was to saute the tomatoes and onions separately, so that you can cook the tomato juices down and the dish won't end up too runny.
So here's to discovering new dishes, and traveling, and to having people you love in your kitchen. May they stick around for a while.
Jordanian Seven-Spice Veal
You can find seven-spice mixture at your local Middle Eastern grocery, or make your own per the recipe below.
1 onion, diced
2 medium, or 1 1/2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 veal cutlets, cut into small pieces, or 12 oz lamb
about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons seven spice mixture
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a wide skillet. Season the veal with salt and pepper and add the skillet, cook until lightly browned, a few minutes. Remove veal to a plate.
2. If the pan is dry, add a bit more olive oil. Add the diced onion and saute until translucent. Add the tomato, season with salt, and cook over medium heat until the tomato reduces and is thick and no longer runny. Return the veal to the pan and sprinkle the seven spice mixture over top. taste for seasoning. Cook until the veal is heated through and tender.
3. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle pine nuts over top. Serve, preferably with rice and some good plain yogurt and diced parsley to go alongside.
Seven Spice Mixture
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons ground allspice
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom