Mloukhieh [ Jews Mellow Stew ]
Growing up, I remember my mama part drying fresh Mloukheye leaves, saute’ing them and then freezing them so that we could eat the freshest possible Mloukheye. My mom always served it with three very distinct things that made her Mloukheye so different and special from that of anyone else’s- she always had an onion & vinegar sauce, a jalapenos garlic lemon sauce called Dukka and toasted thin and crispy pita bread to crush on top. As i got older and built my own home, with my own meals, I continued to create my mom’s masterpiece as a way to warm my home the way she warmed hers.
Total Time: 3h 40 m
Yield: 8-10 adult servings
For the Jalapeno Dukka:
1. 4 large cloves of garlic
2. 1 large jalapeno (de-seed for less heat)
3. juice of 4 lemons
4. salt to taste
For the Mloukheye:
1. 10 cups cold water
2. 2 frozen packages or 1 box of dried Mloukheye leaves
3. 1 whole chicken chopped into pieces (bone in)
4. 2 bay leaves
5. 1 stick of cinnamon
6. 1 large white onion
7. 1 1/2 cups chopped cilantro
8. 18 cloves of garlic, 8 crushed, 10 whole cloves
9. Juice of 8 lemons
10. 2 tbsp salt
11. 2 tsp ground white pepper
For the Jalapeno Dukka
1. add all of your ingredients to a food processor and process on high until you have a smooth consistency. You want to avoid having large chunks of pepper and garlic so ensure it’s smoothly blended.
2. set your sauce in a container and allow to chill in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving.
For the Mloukheye
1. Place your chicken pieces in a large stock pot with cold water, bay leaves, large onion and stick of cinnamon. Bring your stock to a rolling boil and drop the temperature so you maintain a simmer for 30-45 minutes.
2. In the mean time while the broth is cooking, clean your leaves. of you’ve decided to use dried leaves. You can clean them by picking out the sticks and twigs in the bunch that you’ve bought. Set the twigs aside and then rinse and clean your leaves in the water, ensuring you drain the liquid a few times. This process will remove the debris off of the leaves. Once you’ve completed the cleaning process, squeeze the remaining liquid from the leaves out so they are “rung dry”. If you decide to use frozen leaves, you do not have to clean or sautee them, you can add them directly to your pot of broth in step 4.
3. Remove the onion from the stock pot and allow to cool slightly before roughly chopping and adding to a large, hot pan of olive oil, the crushed garlic cloves and the cilantro. Allow your aromatics to saute until the cilantro has wilted thoroughly and you can smell a strong aroma. At this point add your cleaned leaves to the pan and saute well so that all of the leaves touch the hot pan. This step will help ensure you do not have a slimy texture to your stew.
4. Remove your stock pot from the stove and separate the chicken from the broth, removing the cinnamon and bay leaves. Keep the broth in the stock pot and shred your chicken into large chunks.
5. Return the chicken chunks to the stock pot and add the aromatics & the jews mellow leaves you sautéed to the stock pot as well. Add the 10 pieces of whole garlic cloves to the pot, salt and pepper, and lemon juice cover and let simmer for 2 1/2 hours.
6. At the 2 1/2 hour mark of the simmer, taste a leaf and as long as it’s tender, it’s done!
7. Serve with a rice of your liking, i like jasmine rice cooked with turmeric!