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A Taste of Lebanon: Chicken in Bread Loaf

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It is truly unfortunate that in this day-and-age the historic country of Lebanon is known to people only by what the directors at NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN and the rest of the biased so-called news media want people to know. The fact-of-the-matter is, Lebanon is a peaceful country of great beauty and superb culinary fare.

The so-called news media will not tell you that Lebanon is part of the beautiful Mediterranean. They will not tell you that the country actually pre-dates recorded history. They will never tell you it was part of both the Roman and Ottoman Empire and, you will never hear them tell you that just a few decades ago Lebanon was called "the Paris of the Middle East," as it was one of the international shopping meccas.

One of the best and simplest dishes to introduce you to the food of Lebanon is this outstanding dish which in English is called Chicken in Bread Loaf (in Arabic: الدجاج في رغيف الخبز) It really is a brilliant presentation and features the fresh flavors of the Mediterranean.

Ingredients needed to make Chicken in Bread Loaf (serves 4):

  • 1 loaf of bread (Italian or French)
  • 1 chicken, cut into serving pieces
  • ½ pound chicken livers
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock
  • ¼ tsp. ground allspice
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped pistachio nuts
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp. minced mint
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice

Steps:

  1. Slice off the top (crown) of the bread and scoop out the insides. You should have now created the bowl to hold the chicken mixture. Set the bread and the top aside.
  2. In a large pot of boiling water add the chicken and cook 35 minutes. Remove the chicken from the water and set aside to cool. Reserve 2/3 cup of the chicken stock.
  3. Once the chicken has cooled to the touch, remove the skin and bones and discard. Chop the chicken meat and set aside.
  4. In a small sauté pan or skillet, heat the toasted sesame oil over medium heat. Add the chicken livers and sauté 5 minutes. Add 1/3 cup of the chicken stock, allspice, salt and pepper and cook 10 minutes.
  5. Place the chicken liver mixture into a blender or food processor and puree.
  6. In a large bowl stir together the remaining stock, chopped chicken meat, puree, pistachio nuts, parsley, mint and lemon juice.
  7. Spoon the chicken mixture into the bread, cover with the top of the bread and chill until ready to slice and serve.

The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards is now available from Amazon.com and bookstores worldwide. One of the most anticipated cookbooks of the year, "Edwardian Cooking: Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals."

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