Friday, January 20, 2012

Baharat Turkey

I am a big fan of spice mixes and have dabbled a little with Middle Eastern spice mixes, such as the Bzaar and Hararat mixes used in Libyan cooking.  Now, I cross the border, so to speak, to dabble with an spice mix called Baharat, which is used in Arab cuisine.  Baharat may have anywhere from four to nine ingredients, including any of the following: allspice, black pepper, black cardamom, cassia, cloves, coriander, cumin, nutmeg and chiles (or paprika).  Some countries, like Turkey and Tunisia, have their own, patricular type of Baharat. Turkish Baharat includes mint, while Tunisian Baharat includes dried rosebuds and ground cinnamon.

For this recipe, I am using an Egyptian version of Baharat.  The spice mix uses paprika, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, cardamom, ginger, allspice and chiles. I chose the Egyptian version of Baharat for a reason, viz., I was trying to pair a dish with a beer.  A little reverse pairing.  I bought a beer brewed based upon an ancient Egyptian recipe -- look for the beer below and the review to come -- and I needed a dish.  I chose the Baharat rub because I wanted to create a more modern dish to pair with that beer.  

With the rub in hand, I had to decide what protein to use.  The easy choice would have been lamb or maybe chicken.  But I wanted to try something different, so I went with turkey.  That's right, turkey.  I thought the texture of the turkey would provide a different contrast for the spices.  I choose a turkey thigh, headed home and began to create a Chef Bolek Original.


BAHARAT TURKEY
Baharat recipe adapted from JaimeOliver.com
Serves 2-3

Ingredients (for the Baharat Spice Mix):
2 teaspoons of paprika
2 teaspoons of ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon of ground cardammom
1/2 teaspoon of ground cummin
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinammon
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon of ground allspice
1 teaspoon of ground dried chilli (optional, I used Aleppo pepper)

Ingredients (for the Turkey):
1 boneless turkey thigh, about 1 pound
Salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste

Directions:
1.  Prepare the baharat mix.  Combine all of the spice mix ingredients together.  

2.  Prepare the turkey.  Rub the mix all over the turkey thigh.  Using some kitchen twine, tie together the thigh like you would a leg of lamb.  This will help keep parts of the turkey from cooking faster than other parts. 

3.  Cook the turkey thigh.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cook the thigh for 30 to 35 minutes.  Cooking times will vary depending upon the size of the thigh. 

PAIRING THIS RECIPE

As I noted above, I made this recipe because I needed a dish to pair with a specific beer.  The beer was based upon, and drew inspiration from, an ancient Egyptian recipe for making beer.  

Dogfish Head Brewing -- Ta Henket
Ancient Ale
Milton, Delaware, USA
Flavors of za'atar, doum fruit and chamomile

If you cannot find Ta Henket, there are other beers or wines that could work this this recipe, like the following.

Bergström Winery -- Dr. Bergström Riesling (2007)
100% Riesling
Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA
Flavors of apples, pears and melon

Baying Hound Aleworks -- Lord Whimsey's Mild Pale Ale
Mild Pale Ale
Rockville, Maryland, USA
Flavors of bread and malt

ENJOY!

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