With memories of her beloved “teta” (“grandmother” in Lebanese) inspiring her delicious Lebanese recipes and fruitful time in the kitchen, food blogger and Lebanese Chef Joumana Accad, is passionate about bringing the love of family cooking and traditional Lebanese dishes to home cooks across the U.S. through her blog site, TasteofBeirut.com. Here are three of Accad’s Easter recipes that she hopes you will share with your family on this special holiday.
Accad has a passion for her native dishes and the family memories they evoke. Every Lebanese Easter recipe is made with love and requires time in the kitchen that is very much worth the effort. Here are the Lebanese chef’s recipes for Stuffed Greens with Lamb Chops, Stuffed Eggplants with Yogurt Sauce, and Semolina Cookies.
Lebanese Easter recipes
Recipes courtesy of Joumana Accad, adapted from www.TasteofBeirut.com.
Stuffed Greens with Lamb Chops
Accad says this dish is considered an event in a Lebanese household, “A meal fit for royalty or your most favorite people.” When grape leaves are not available, Accad suggests Swiss chard leaves or collard greens, both dense in nutrients and flavor.
- 1 cup sushi rice
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 8 lamb chops
- 1/2 a lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Olive oil, as needed
- 8-ounces minced lamb or beef
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1 onion, chopped very fine (optional)
- 6 bunches of greens, washed, stalks and thick veins removed
- 4 cups water, with salt dissolved in it (to taste)
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses (optional)
- Cover rice with water and a dash of salt and set it aside.
- Clean the lamb chops by rubbing them with a cut lemon; sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.
- In a pot, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium-high heat and pan-fry the lamb chops on both sides until browned; remove from heat.
- Drain the rice; place in a bowl with the minced meat and all the spices; add the finely chopped onions, if using; combine the mixture until it is well mixed; cover and place in the refrigerator.
- Cut the leaves into squares as evenly as possible, about 4 to 5-inches for each side; place them in a pot with about 2-inches of salted, boiling water; boil for 1 minute, or until the leaves are wilted; turn off the heat and drain in a colander. (If desired, set the stalks and veins aside to be made into a salad.)
- Remove the stuffing from the refrigerator, and place 1 tablespoon on each leaf, rolling the leaf like a cigar. Try to place the stuffing in the middle, as it will expand and you don’t want the rice to ooze out all over the place.
- As soon as each leaf is stuffed, place it in the pot on top of the browned lamb chops, going in a concentric circle, if possible.
- Place water in a measuring cup with salt; add 1/2 cup of lemon juice and pomegranate molasses, if using, and stir to dissolve.
- Place a small plate on top of the leaves (the flip side of the plate) and press slightly; the leaves should be almost covered in liquid. Cover the pot, bring to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes; uncover the pot and let simmer about 15 minutes more to reduce the volume of stock.
- Flip the pot onto a large serving platter, leaving the chops on top; serve with a bowl of yogurt on the side.