Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Libyan Chicken Soup with Thyme

Last Saturday, our family have a "Seven Countries Meal".  I found and made recipes from each of the countries on the new "immigration ban list"- Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, and Syria. We took this opportunity to educate our kids on the good things about these countries, and we had books available about all of them.  One way to educate yourself on a country is through that country's food. Education is the antithesis of ignorance.  This is our little way to resist.  I'll be featuring the recipes here, and I'm starting with this one from Libya.  (All of the flavors and food went together so well- it was a very special experience. I found new foods I love, that I otherwise might have never been aware of.)
Our meal; from left bottom, going counter-clockwise; Libyan soup, Syrian beef kabobs, Iranian yogurt kip, Somali rice, Sudanese fava beans, Iraqi fudge, and Yemeni flatbread in the middle.

Libyan Chicken Soup with Thyme (Sharba Libiya bil Dajaj wa Alzatar)
adapted from Libyan Food

400g raw chicken legs* (a little less than a pound- doesn't have to be exact)
1 medium onion
1 medium tomato
1 cup finely chopped parsley
1-2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaves
7 cardamom pods, split open
7 cloves
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp chili powder (spicy or not)
1 tsp tumeric
salt and pepper
fresh thyme as needed (you can use dried thyme instead )
1/3 cup orzo pasta
11/2 litre water (a little more than 6 cups)

1.  Heat oil in a pot, add chopped onion, drop in the cardamom (smash them with the bottom of a drinking glass to split), cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns and bay leaf, stirring until the oil is infused. Add the chicken,* (author removes skin, but I left it on), tomato paste and stir. Add the chili powder, turmeric powder , fresh tomatoes, and parsley, a cup of water, cover and cook on low heat for 15 minutes. Then add the remaining water and cook on medium heat for 45 minutes.

2.  Remove the chicken pieces, cinnamon sticks and bay leaf. De-bone the chicken pieces and cut into bite-sized chunks set aside. Add the remaining amount of parsley, and orzo, cook for another 10-15 minutes.

3. Turn of the heat, drop the chicken pieces back in, rub a handful of dried thyme between the palms of your hand straight into the pot, then give the soup a final stir.
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