Caer Galen Midwinter Feast:
An Evening in Arabian Lands

December 9, 2000

First Dish:


Mishmishya (Meat Stew With Fruit) 

(al-Baghdadi) 
    Redaction by Maredudd 

    Cut fat meat small, put into the saucepan with a little salt, and cover with water. Boil and remove the scum. Cut up onions, wash, and throw in on top of the meat. Add seasonings, coriander, cumin, mastic, cinnamon, pepper and ginger, well ground. Take dry apricots, soak in hot water, then wash and put in a separate saucepan, and boil lightly: take out, wipe in the hands, and strain through a sieve. Take sweet almonds, grind fine, moisten with a little apricot juice and throw in. Some color with a trifle of saffron. Spray the saucepan with a little rose water, wipe its sides with a clean rag, and leave to settle over the fire: then remove.

    2 lbs. lamb -- cubed 
    ½ tsp. black pepper 
    ½ tsp. salt 
    1 lg. onion -- finely chopped 
    ¼ tsp. ground ginger 
    ½ lb dried apricots 
    ½ tsp. ground coriander 
    ½ tsp. ground cumin 
    1/3 c ground almonds 
    ¼ tsp. saffron 
    ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon 
    1 tsp. rosewater 

    Brown the meat, cover with water. Add the onions and spices; stew until the meat is tender. Add apricots - either puree them or add them whole as I have. Stir in almonds and rosewater to thicken. 

    Maredudd's Notes: I did not use mastic, as it was not available. For this feast I substituted beef for the lamb. 
    (See Picture)


Cooked dish of lentils (Alternate soup, vegetarian) 

From Cariadoc's Miscellany:

al-Andalusi p. C-5 (no. 377)

    Wash lentils and put them to cook in a pot with sweet water, oil, pepper, coriander and cut onion. When they are cooked throw in salt, a little saffron and vinegar; break three eggs, leave for a while on the flame and later retire the pot. Other times cook without onion. If you wish cook it with Egyptian beans pricked into which have been given a boil. Or better with dissolved yeast over a gentle fire. When the lentils begin to thicken add good butter or sweet oil, bit by bit, alike until it gets absorbed, until they are sufficiently cooked and have enough oil. Then retire it from the flame and sprinkle with pepper.

    1 1/2 c dried lentils = 10 oz
    2 1/4 c water
    1 1/2 T oil
    3/8 t pepper
    1 1/2 t coriander
    2 medium onions = 1/2 lb
    3/4 t salt
    12 threads saffron
    2 T vinegar
    4 eggs

    (Egyptian beans)
    (yeast)
    4 T butter (or oil)
    more pepper

    Slice onions. Put lentils, water, oil, pepper, coriander and onion in a pot, bring to a boil, and turn down to a bare simmer. Cook covered 50 minutes, stirring periodically. Add butter in lumps, and cook while stirring for about 5 minutes. Add salt, saffron (crushed in 1 teaspoon water), and vinegar and bring back to a boil. Put eggs on top, cover pot and keep lentils at a simmer; stir cautiously every few minutes in order to scrape the bottom of the pot without stirring in the eggs. We find that if the heat is off, the eggs don't cook; if the heat is up at medium, the eggs cook, but the lentils start to stick to the pot. A larger quantity might hold enough heat to cook the eggs without leaving it on the flame. When the eggs are cooked, sprinkle with a little more pepper and serve. Makes 5 1/4 c.

    -- From the electronic version of Cariadoc's Miscellany, available on-line at:  http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/cariadoc/miscellany.html


    Maredudd's notes: I did not use the eggs on top due to the scale of the recipe for a feast. 

    (See Picture)


Recipe for the Barmakiyya (Spiced Chicken Pies)

(Andalusian p. A-9) 
    Redaction by Maredudd 

    It is made with hens, pigeons, ring doves, small birds, or lamb. Take what you have of it, then clean it and cut it and put it in a pot with salt and onion, pepper, coriander and lavender or cinnamon, some murri naqi, and oil. Put it over a gentle fire until it is nearly done and the sauce is dried. Take it out and fry it with mild oil without overdoing it, and leave it aside. Then take fine flour and semolina, make a well-made dough with yeast, and if it has some oil it will be more flavorful. Then stretch this out into a thin loaf and inside this put the fried and cooked meat of these birds, cover it with another thin loaf, press the ends together and place it in the oven, and when the bread is done, take it out. It is very good for journeying; make it with fish and that can be used for journeying too. 

    Note: The Barmecides were a family of Persian viziers who served some of the early Umayyad Caliphs, in particular Haroun al-Rashid, and were famed for their generosity. 

    Commercial frozen bread dough 
    1 lb boned chicken (or lamb) 
    1 c. chopped onion 
    1/2 t pepper 
    1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 
    1 tsp. salt 
    olive oil for frying 
    1 t coriander 

    Chop the meat into small pieces. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add chopped onion and spices, and simmer until the meat is nearly cooked. Transfer the meat to a skillet and continue to cook until the juices have been absorbed. 
    Make thin loaves of the bread dough, and fill according to the instructions. Bake on a cookie sheet at 350deg. for 40 minutes. 

    Maredudd's Notes: I did not use murri in this recipe; I was unable to locate all the ingredients. A recipe for murri is available in Cariadoc's Miscellany. Additionally, I used commercial bread dough in place of making my own, due to the scale of this recipe for a feast. The Miscellany contains Cariadoc's proportions for the dough. 
    (See Picture)


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