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Sferia

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 13 April 2012 at 12:48
From Time/Life's Foods of the World - a Quintet of Cuisines, 1970:
 
 
Unusually mild for Algerian food, sferia subtly combines chicken with chick-peas and cheese-flavoured croquettes.
 
Sferia
Chicken With Chick-Peas And Cheese Croquettes
 
To serve 4:
 
2 tablespoons butter
A 3-to 3.5 pound chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces
1 small onion, peeled and finely grated
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup dried chick-peas (garbanzos) soaked 12 hgours, drained, rinsed, simmered in water to cover for 1 hour and drained again, or substitute 2 cups drained canned chick-peas
1 cup water
 
CROQUETTES
 
1 small (1/2 pound) loaf fresh French- or Italian-type white bread, trimmed of all crusts and torn into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup milk
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 cup freshly grated imported Gruyère cheese
1 teaspoon orange-blossom water
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
 
SAUCE
 
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon strained fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley 
 
In a heavy 3- to 4-quart casserole, combine the butter, chicken, onion, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt and several grindings of black pepper. Turning the chicken frequently, cook uncovered over high heat for about 15 minutes, or until it is golden on all sides. Add the chickpeas and water and, stirring constantly,bring to a boil overhigh heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for 1.5 hours, or until the chicken is tender but not falling apart.
 
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to its lowest setting. Line a large shallow baking pan with a double thickness of paper towels and place it in the middle of the oven. Combine the bread and milk in a deep bowl, soak for 10 minutes, then squeeze the bread vigorously to rid it of all moisture. Discard the milk and return the bread to the bowl. Add the egg and egg yolk, and stir with a fork or spoon until the ingredients are well blended. Stir in the cheese, orange-blossom water, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and beat until the mixture is smooth. Taste for seasoning.
 
In a heavy 10-inch skillet warm the oil over high heat until a light haze forms above it. Moistening your hands frequently with cold water, shape the croquette mixture into about 2 dozen slightly flattened balls, each about 1 inch in diameter. Fry the croquettes 5 or 6 at a time in the hot oil for 1 or 2 minutes on each side, turning them with a slotted spatula. As they brown, transfer them to the paper-lined pan and keep them warm in the oven while you fry the rest in similar batches, adding more oil to the pan as necessary.
 
When the chicken is done, arrange the cheese croquettes in a ring around the edge of a large serving platter and place the pieces of chicken in another ring inside them. Remove the chick-peas from the casserole with a slotted spoon and mound them in the center. Drape the platter loosely with foil and return to the oven to keep warm while you make the sauce. Working quickly, beat the egg yolk and lemon juice together with a fork or whisk until they are well combined, beat in 1/2 cup of the sauce from the casserole, and then pour the egg mixture into the remaining sauce. Stirring constantly, cook over low heat until the sauce thickens lightly. Do not let it come to a boil or it will curdle. Taste for seasoning and pour the sauce over the chick-peas and chicken. Sprinkle the top with the parsley and serve at once.
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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 April 2012 at 14:28
Wow! What a party dish that would make. Although you have a major typo in the ingredients listing. I'm sure you didn't mean to say the ground pepper should be simmered for an hour. Wink
 
And I don't understand this proviso: "Unusually mild for Algerian food." This seems to imply that Algerian food is particularly hot. Which it's not. You have some hot dishes, to be sure. And some so bland as to be all but tasteless. And many in between.
 
Which merely shows the kind of influences that have combined to produce the cuisine of Alegeria.
 
Algeria probably reflects the greatest culinary diversity of the entire Maghreb. You have the heavy Arabic and Turkish main influences. And the French, of course. As the Moors retreated out of Europe they left food influences in Algeria, bringing some Spanish flavors with them. And there is the little known ethnic group called Pied Noir---which are French Sephardic Jews, with their own cuisine, different from the Spanish Sephardics. Plus the indigenous Berber cookery.
 
What I'm saying is that I'd never go out on a limb and state, categorically, that Algerian food is XYZ. There would be far to many exceptions to make any such conclusion valid.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 April 2012 at 14:38
oh man - let me fix that typo (will edit the original) ASAP!! Shocked
 
[NOTE - FIXED!]
 
>>>"Unusually mild for Algerian food." This seems to imply that Algerian food is particularly hot. Which it's not. You have some hot dishes, to be sure. And some so bland as to be all but tasteless. And many in between.<<<
 
The quote above is simply the caption for the picture from the FOTW book - I'll do a little bit of reading in the chapter and see if they cite a reason for that phrase. If there is a reason behind it, I'll post; otherwise, I have no trouble removing the phrase, to be replaced with my best friend: "..."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 April 2012 at 14:52
I understood it was a quote from the book, Ron. It's the statement I don't understand, not where it came from.
 
BTW, and slightly off topic, here's an interesting guideline for you: The closer to the equator you get, the hotter the cuisine becomes. Although perhaps most evident in Africa, this applies worldwide.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 April 2012 at 15:12
>>>The closer to the equator you get, the hotter the cuisine becomes. Although perhaps most evident in Africa, this applies worldwide. <<<
 
yep, i was just talking about this with my youngest son the other day, he came home from school and told me that he learned in school that spicy food actually cools you down, or something like that. i replied with almost the exact words you used up there, and showed him how it applied across the globe - africa, the carribean, india, southeast asia, south america etc.... 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 September 2012 at 11:08
Tas,
 
Fine dish, and quite interesting too and the photo you have selected creates an exotic handle on the meze.
 
Marge.
Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.
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