Rocket Soup (Shorbat Jarjir)

This soup was absolutely heavenly. It was a purée of all of my favorite greens with added silkiness from a single potato. Perfection!

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Yasmin Khan, author of Zaitoun. I weighed all of the greens, added fresh lemon juice, and increased the garlic. I also incorporated my homemade turkey stock but vegetable stock could be easily substituted to make a vegetarian version. The original recipe recommends the use of spicier, mature arugula. I was upset that I didn’t make a double batch. Next time! 🙂

Yield: 4 servings

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 medium russet potato, chopped into 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 cups homemade chicken or vegetable stock
  • 7 ounces arugula (I used wild baby arugula)
  • 5 1/4 ounces fresh spinach (I used baby spinach)
  • 1 ounce cilantro sprigs (about 1/2 packed cup)
  • freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • plain whole-milk Greek yogurt, for serving
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium. (I used an enameled cast iron pot.)
  2. Add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring often, just until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in turmeric, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and allspice; cook, stirring often, 2 minutes.
  4. Add potato and stock, and bring to a simmer. Cook until potato is tender, about 10 minutes.
  5. Reserve a handful of arugula for garnish. Add spinach, cilantro, and remaining arugula to pan. Bring to a simmer over medium, and cook 10 minutes.
  6. Working in batches, transfer soup to a blender. (Alternatively, use an immersion blender to purée the soup.) Secure lid on blender, and remove center piece of lid to allow steam to escape. Place a clean kitchen towel over opening. Process until smooth.
  7. Incorporate the fresh lemon juice.
  8. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed, and divide among 4 bowls.
  9. Top each serving with a generous spoonful of Greek yogurt, some of the reserved arugula, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

Red Lentil & Butternut Squash Soup (Shorabit Jarjir)

I absolutely LOVE red lentil soup. I have tried many versions and enjoy each one just as much as the last. This version seemed perfect for autumn with the incorporation of butternut squash. The squash added a subtle sweetness and beautiful color.

I made this wonderful velvety soup in advance to serve for lunch on Thanksgiving Day. (I am sure it freezes well!) This recipe was adapted from Saveur. I doubled the original recipe and decreased the amount of olive oil and red pepper flakes. We ate it with green salad and naan. Perfect.

Yield: Serves 12

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red chile flakes
  • 1 small butternut squash (about 2 lbs) peeled, seeded, cubed, and then finely chopped
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 12 cups organic chicken stock
  • 2 cups red lentils
  • finely chopped parsley, for garnish
  • paprika, for garnish
  • flatbread (naan) and lemon wedges, for serving
  1. Finely chop the garlic, carrots, celery, and onion in a food processor.
  2. Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic, carrots, celery, and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly caramelized, 12 to 14 minutes.
  3. While the base is cooking, finely chop the cubed butternut squash in a food processor.
  4. Stir the cumin, chile flakes, squash, salt, and pepper into the carrot-celery-onion mixture; cook until squash is soft, about 15 minutes.
  5. Add stock and lentils; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, slightly covered, until lentils are very tender, about 20 minutes.
  6. Let soup cool slightly, then, working in batches, purée soup until smooth. (I used an immersion blender.)
  7. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with parsley and paprika; serve with flatbread and lemon wedges on the side.

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Palestinian Chicken

As much as I love trying new recipes, we made a gold standard summer meal for friends the other night. Palestinian chicken with Israeli couscous– we make it at least once a summer.

The whole milk Greek yogurt based marinade really makes the entire dish. It’s moist, tangy, and very flavorful with the addition of many spices. I have made it in the past with plain whole milk yogurt and with low-fat Greek yogurt but I was not as pleased with the results  – whole milk Greek yogurt is perfect. Simple and tasty- the kids enjoyed it too.

This recipe was adapted from The Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichlen. I recommend doubling the recipe. 🙂

  • 4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts OR 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 3 T fresh lemon juice
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  1. Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, salt, cinnamon, pepper, cardamom, and cloves in a non-reactive baking dish.  (I use glass.) Whisk to blend.
  2. Add the chicken breasts or thighs, coat each completely with marinade, and arrange in one layer.
  3. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator, 4 hours to overnight. (The longer the better.)
  4. Preheat the grill. When ready to cook, oil the grill grate. Remove the chicken from the baking dish and grill until cooked through.

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