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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

ACHICORIA WITH ZIRYAB'S CHICORY, LAMB & MEATBALLS RECIPE

Photo by: Tom Murray
L. Cichorium intybus, Fr. chicorée, Eng. chicory. This is composite plant common in Europe, Asia and America. During Muslim occupation in Andalusia, the use of vegetables expanded including consumption of chicory. Avenzoar thought it moderately cold and humid. He explained that it does not possess the same humidity and coldness as lettuce, but it cools in a balanced way and gives certain humidity and force capable of dissolving obstructions. Wild chicory syrup, he continued, cools, dries, settles and cleans. This syrup prepared with cultivated chicory, he stated, is less effective but its capacity to cool is stronger than dried chicory. Anon Andalus gives recipes for two drinks containing chicory to fortify and clean the stomach, to purge the liver and spleen and for phlegmatic ailments. Formerly, it was common for Christians to add it to mild laxative syrups when purging and it was used to relieve jaundice. The leaves and flowers are used to make an infusion drunk especially after a heavy meal to help digestion and clean the urinary tracts. Egyptians and Arabs blanched the leaves before eating them in salads. This practice has continued in Europe. Anon Andalus provides a recipe for stewed lamb cooked with spinach but chicory can be used as a substitute. During the wheat famines of 1301 and 1470 wild chicory was ground into flour to make bread. Chicory has been confused with endives and escarole. See endibia. With endives, escarole and lettuce, it has been considered an erotic stimulant. This custom continues in Europe today. [Anón/Huici.1966:321:179-180:488:267-268:489:268; Castro. Alimentación. 1996:205; Font. Plantas. 1999: 619:859-861; Nola/Pérez. 1994:195-196; and Stuart. 1987:173]

ZIRYAB’S VEGETABLE DISH -  CHICORY, LAMB AND MEATBALLS ADAPTED FROM
HUICI’S TRANSLATION OF ANÓN AL-ANDALUS #321 HECHURA DE VERDURA A LO ZIRYĀB,
pp 179-180

Ingredients

Step #1
1 lb lamb
salt to taste

1 onion
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp caraway
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp Byzantine murri

Step #2*
Chickory
Photo by:  juliennecoyle
*2 c chicory
1 garlic clove mashed
1 tsp thyme
¼ c vinegar (cider can be used instead)
½ c oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp sugar


Step #3
¼ lb ground beef (pork is tastier but not appropriate for a Muslim dish)
1 tbsp chopped almonder
1/8 tbsp; tsp freshly ground pepper
½ tsp coriander
½ tsp caraway
1 egg beaten
½ c breadcrumbs

Step #1 Mix the coriander, pepper, caraway, oil and Byzantine murri and rub the meat with it. Place it in a roasting pan and add the onion wrapped in aluminum foil. Roast ½ hour.

Step #2 In the meantime, wash chicory; dry it and half it lengthwise. Remove the lamb from the roasting pan. Pour off excess fat. Lay chicory in the pan with the inside of the leaves up. Sprinkle garlic and thyme over it.  Pour the vinegar over it. Mix the mustard and the oil and pour that over it. Sprinkle it with sugar. Place the roast over that.

Step #3 Sprinkle the almonds and seasoning over the meat. Knead it well and make small meatballs the size of almonds. Dip them into the egg covering them with the liquid. Roll them in the breadcrumbs and place them in the roasting pan and return to the oven for ½ hr to 45 minutes until done.

Step #4 Remove the roast from the oven. Cover it and let rest for 20 minutes. Slice the onion. Carve the lamb. Place all on a platter and pour the juices over it.and serve.
Photo by: dinnerdiary.org


*For the Byzantine murri recipe search for: Almorí with Byzantine Murri Recipe.

**
Substitute: endives or Belgium endives which are members of the chicory family but a different species. Spinach is another alternative.

2 comments:

  1. I didn't know about the erotic qualities, but I have often heard (and even seen) chicory is a substitute of coffee in hard times (in Spain during the 40's). In Italy they sell it in supermarkets because some people think it is very "healthy"... now I see WHY!!!! (perhaps this is Silvio's secret?)

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  2. As for coffee, it is mentioned under "cafeto" in this work, surprised? Yes, there is a possibility that the Hispano-Muslims had it but not to the extent that they needed a substitute as far as I know.

    As far as your cousin Silvio is concerned, do send him a package of chicory. He looks a bit frail of late!

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