Monday, June 26, 2006

Combinations #3: Flatbreads with Spiced Chicken, Pistachios and Roasted Peppers

Sat 24 Jun 2006

Finally back in the kitchen after what feels like a pretty hectic few weeks. I posted the recipe for the flatbreads and spiced chicken a few weeks ago and as usual we played it fast and loose with both quantities and ingredients!

Za'atar and Aleppo pepper proved a bit too tricky to track down (I wasn't organised enough to order from the internet) but the lady at Spice Corner in the Leeds market suggested using garam masala with the addition of sesame seeds as a good substitute for za'atar - and given that it seems to vary a bit by region, I figured that that was good enough for me. And the recipe suggested cayenne pepper as an alternative for the Aleppo pepper.

I have to confess that, despite my best intentions, I also read another contribution before embarking on the exercise myself - so I was forewarned that the spicing of the recipe was not all that it could have been. This meant that we did quite a bit of frying up and tasting of the mixture before we committed it to a flatbread.

My original wine plan had been to choose a rose - a fuller bodied, spicier rose, less berry fruit driven. However, this was stymied by Hoults, the wine shop, not really having anything in stock that matched this description. While I was then quizzing the staff about light reds that could be served slightly chilled but with more spice than fruit I spotted a verdelho and the decision was made. Purely on the basis that I really like verdelho and don't drink it very often (food? what food???).

So - the taste test - flatbreads with spiced chicken et al, served with Deen de Bortoli Vat 5 Verdelho, 2005. The wine was far too strong for the food - and hardly not fruit driven! OK - the wine had good acidity but loads of really rich stone fruit flavours going on - it would probably go really well with icecream and stone fruit or a pav - but not really the spiced chicken flatbreads. I was pretty disappointed I didn't exercise a bit more self control in the bottle shop, because, on reflection, something like a gamay would probably have worked really well. In fact, a couple of weeks ago I had a Mas Macia cava rosado (that's pink fizz to you and me!) that was a really dry and austere wine - and would have gone really well with the food. Basically, I think anything that is relatively light bodied but with good acid and spice would go really well with this dish. We ate it as a main course (served with lightly spiced rice), but it would make good hors d'oeuvres, in which case you might seek to serve it with something bubbly and celebratory.

Over all, I would make this dish again. It was simple to put together but definitely needs some work on the spicing front. I'd be tempted to add more onion and maybe a fresh chilli, and subsitute ground chillis or chilli powder for the cayenne (what on earth is 1/4 tsp of cayenne for all that mixture??). We really loaded our wholemeal tortillas with the mixture and topped them with sesame seeds. We mixed sumac through our yoghurt and served that on the side, and we figure that a sprinkling of chopped coriander wouldn't go astray either!

I'll post the round up tomorrow night (UK time).

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should make your own za'atar (hope I got the spelling right)as it is mainly sumac and some herbs such as thyme and oregano. Made freshly it is good and tangy and you can just make up small quantities as you need it. I'll send you my recipe when I have time.

1:41 pm  

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