Moghrabieh is a dish that is often made to celebrate important events. When I was a kid my mother almost never made it herself. It just took so long to prepare. I got this recipe from one of my uncles who lives in Sydney, then asked my mom to fill in any blanks. One of those voice note recipes if you will.
Sheikh el Mehchi
- 0.5 Kg of Moghrabieh (usually half a bag)
- 100 g of Chickpeas
- 3-4 Chicken Thighs with the skin on
- 2 Small Lamb shanks
- The juice of 2 lemons
- 2 small bags of pearl onions
- 2 Medium sized yellow onions
- 2 tablespoons of Caraway
- I also add Ground Coriander and Cardamom, but most people use Cumin
- Salt to taste
- If you are using dried chickpeas, soak the overnight in water. Changing the water every 2-3 hours.
- By the morning you should be able to peel them without much effort. Once peeled place them in a pot of boiling water and cook until tender.
- Set aside.
The Lamb Shanks
- Brine the lamb shanks in water and salt for about an hour for the blood to come out. Then discard the water, pat the shanks dry, and sprinkle them with salt and ground black pepper.
- Brown them in a pot (I use an iron cast pot for this) with a little bit of sunflower oil or ghee, then cover them with water.
- Boil the lamb shanks with Laurel leaves, a cinnamon stick, a quarter of an onion, a carrot, some salt and nutmeg. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat. This process is a couple hours long. In fact the longer they cook the better.
- You can cook the lamb shanks ahead. Once cooked take the lamb shanks out of the stock. Debone them. Set them aside. Strain the stock and set it aside. It will be the basis of the sauce, and some of it will serve to cook the Moghrabieh.
- After having washed, dried and seasoned the chicken, start by cooking the chicken in a mix of olive oil and butter until they start to brown, then cover them in water.
- Boil them with Laurel leaves, a cinnamon stick, a quarter of an onion, a carrot, some salt and nutmeg. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat. Cook for another 20-30 minutes.
- Remove the chicken, strain the stock, and mix it with the stock from the lamb shanks.
- Put the Mograbieh in a large pot or Wok. Cover it with water, add salt, and bring to a boil.
- When most of the water has evaporated, add a few slices of butter and mix it in.
- Add the cooked chickpeas, then pour in some of the chicken / lamb stock. Let it evaporate, and add some more, one cup at a time until the Moghrabieh is cooked through and no longer aldente.
- Add the spices (Caraway, ground coriander, cardamom)
- Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Peel the pearl onions and the medium yellow onions. Quarter the large onions, then fry the bunch in butter and olive oil.
- Once they have browned, add them to the chicken / lamb stock and boil them in the broth until cooked through. Add some of the same spices that you used for the Moghrabieh.
- You can do this at the same time as the Moghrabieh is cooking.
- Once cooked at the lemon juice and stir.
Serving the dish
- At this point some people would mix it all together.
- I prefer serving the Moghrabieh, topped with the chicken and lamb shanks in one dish, and the sauce in another. I always bring a cut lemon to the table in case someone wants to add some. That someone is usually me.