Monday, February 1, 2010

I love middle eastern food.


I felt like cooking something Middle Eastern last night so Dr. Food and I decided to make this Fatteh Djaj. It is a layered chicken and yogurt casserole and boy it did not disappoint. I think I have found my new "Food crush".

It is pretty easy to make. It starts with boiling a chicken to get the meat and the stock. Since it was below freezing here we sped up the process to defat the stock.


Pretty convenient having your own walkin refrigerator/freezer.


Toasted up some pine nuts (skipped the pistachios because it only called for 2Tbl so I just added more of the pine nuts.


Toasted some pita (didn't make my own this time).


Topped with yogurt

So go ahead and make this and make believe you are in Lebanon or Syria. Wait, where did I put that hookah?

Layered Chicken And Yogurt Casserole (Fatteh Djaj)
“Flatbreads and Flavors” by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

3 Pounds roasting chicken
2 1/2 Quarts water
1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
2 Inch cinnamon stick
1/4 Teaspoon cloves
1 Medium onion -- coarsely chopped
2 Large Sprigs fresh thyme
2 Cups plain yogurt
1 Cup long-grain white rice
4 Cloves garlic -- finely chopped
juice of one lemon
1 1/2 Teaspoons salt
4 Cups toasted pita
3/4 Cup mixed flat-leaf parsley and fresh mint -- finely chopped
3 Tablespoons pine nuts -- dry-roasted
2 Tablespoons unsalted pistachios -- coarsely chopped

Wash the chicken. Pull off the skin and trim off excess fat.

Place the cold water and chicken in a large soup pot. Add the
peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves, onion, and thyme and bring to a boil
over medium-high heat. Lower the heat and simmer gently, partially
covered, for 1 hour. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile place the yogurt in a sieve or colander lined with cheesecloth.
Let drain over a bowl for 1 hour to thicken.

Remove the chicken from the broth with tongs, and place the chicken on a
work surface. Let cool somewhat, then pull the chicken meat off the
bones, shredding it into bite-size pieces. Discard the bones. Strain the
broth and discard the solids. Pour 4 1/2 cups of the broth into a container and
place the broth in the refrigerator to cool (If you are in a rush, you can
skip this step and use the broth without defatting it). Set aside the
remainder of the broth in the refrigerator or freezer for another use.
(The recipe can be prepared ahead to this point and the chicken, broth,
and yogurt stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours).
Skim the fat off the surface of the cooled broth.

Rinse the rice thoroughly in cold water until the water runs clear, then
drain well. Place in a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and add 2 1/4
cups of the defatted broth. Bring to a vigorous boil, then cover, reduce
the heat to very low, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Meantime, combine the remainder of the defatted broth, the chopped garlic,
and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Add 1
teaspoon of the salt and simmer for 5 minutes. (If you have refrigerated
the chicken pieces, place them in the broth to rewarm). You are now ready
to assemble the fatteh.

Assemble the fatteh on a large shallow serving dish or platter. Leave 1
cup of the toasted pits in triangle-shaped pieces and break up the rest
into bite-sized pieces. Spread the broken pieces over the bottom of the
dish and lean the triangles up agains the sites, or if using a platter,
place around the edge. Pour two thirds of the garlic broth over the
crumpled bread. Spoon on the rices, spreading it evenly, then distribute
the chicken pieces evenly over the rice Pour the remainder of the broth
over the chicken.

Mix together the yogurt and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and spread
over the chicken. Scatter the chopped herbs over the yogurt, then
sprinkle on the pine nuts and chopped pistachios. Alternatively, you can
mix the chopped mint into the yogurt, leaving only the parsley and nuts
as top dressing. Serve immediately.


  1. Sounds delicious! And I thought I was the only one who had a walk-in cooler like that! Comes in handy doesn't it?

  2. Even though I don't eat chicken, this looks SO good! Have you seen the blog I think you would love it!!

  3. The thing is when you start eating Middle Eastern food, you want more and more...That chicken dish must taste wonderful with all those ingredients! I'm glad to see that snow is melting away...

  4. Being Armenian, I love the food from the region I am from. This is absolutely wonderful...I love chick peas so much that I can eat them plain!

  5. I love Armenian food as well, but i don't make it often enough. But I think you have a walk out freezer!

  6. Looks delightful and sounds even better Janis! Haven't prepared too much Middle Eastern food, you have inspired me to try. I should start with this dish

  7. How do you become involved with the Foodbuzz Tastemaster Program?

    Great blog, btw!


  8. Pam, if you go to it tells you how to sign up to be a featured publisher.

  9. Oh, Okay..thank you so much...I will check it out!


  10. Okay..thank you Janis! I will check it out!