In her story about hospitality, “Sharing food with my two families,” Natasha Krahn describes being served a traditional Palestinian dish turned upside down on a large platter. Here is the recipe as found in the Extending the Table cookbook.
In large, heavy saucepan, heat:
1-2 tablespoons / 15-30 ml oil (preferably olive)
Add and fry until golden brown 1 of the following (or a combination of 2 using half the suggested amounts):
1 medium head cauliflower, broken into pieces
1 eggplant, peeled and sliced ½ inch / 1 cm thick
6 medium carrots, sliced ¼ inch / ¾ cm thick
Remove and set aside.
In same oil, brown:
1½-2 pounds / 750 g-1 kg lamb or beef, cubed
½ cup / 125 ml onion, finely diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons / 10 ml salt
½ teaspoon / 2 ml pepper
¼ teaspoon / 1 ml ground allspice
¼ teaspoon / 1 ml ground nutmeg
dash of ground cinnamon
1½ cup / 375 ml water
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until meat is tender, about 30 minutes for lamb and 45-60 minutes for beef.
Meanwhile in separate medium saucepan, boil:
3 cups / 750 ml water
Remove from heat and add:
2 cups / 500 ml long-grain rice
½-1 teaspoon / 2-5 ml saffron or ¼-½ teaspoon / 1-2 ml ground turmeric (optional)
Cover rice and soak for 10 minutes. Drain and set rice aside.
When meat is tender, drain and reserve broth. Place browned vegetables over meat in saucepan. If using eggplant, slightly overlap slices in an attractive circle. Top with soaked rice, carefully levelling it off. Add enough water to reserved broth to make 3 cups / 750 ml. Slowly pour broth over rice. Do not stir.
Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand, covered, 15 minutes. Invert saucepan on a large platter, 1-2 inches / 2.5-5 cm in diameter larger than saucepan. Let stand 10 minutes more while preparing:
2 fresh tomatoes, cut in wedges
2 lemons, cut in wedges
sprigs of fresh mint or parsley
Carefully remove pan so rice does not lose shape of pan. Sprinkle with:
¼ cup / 50 ml browned almonds or pine nuts
Lay tomato and lemon wedges and mint and parsley sprigs around edges for garnish. Squeeze lemon over maqloobeh, as desired, to brighten flavours. Serve with pita bread and Middle East relish. Pass a bowl of yogurt to spoon over top.
Reprinted from Extending the Table (Revised Edition). © 2014 by Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Va. All rights reserved. Used with permission.