Joshua de Sola Mendes

Col. Jonathan de Sola Mendes

Joshua de Sola Mendes

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Plato Judío Relleno (Stuffed Jewish Dish)

 

If the name of this dish sounds a bit curious, it’s because it is no ordinary one. In fact, it may be the oldest written Jewish recipe in the world! Ph.D. candidate Hélène Jawhara Piñer of the European Institute for the History and Cultures of Food in Tours, France, found it in the course of her studies of Arab cuisine in 13th to 15th century Andalusian Spain. Piñer, whose father’s family descends from 14th century Spain, is seeking to trace the ways in which Arab Muslims, Catholics, and Jews once shared recipes and cooking techniques. She can see an evolution as the centuries and recipes changed to hide their Jewish origin (for example, substituting lard for olive oil). By the time her research is complete, she will have reviewed over a thousand recipes.

Below is the recipe, which Piñer re-created together with Jennifer Abadi, a New York-based writer and instructor of Sephardi and Judeo-Arabic cuisine (www.jenniferabadi.com). The recipe can be intended for Shabbat as it doesn’t need heating. Buen provecho !!!

 

 

 

 

 

Serves 10-12 / Makes one 10-inch pie

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

 

For Ground Meat Layer:

1 or 1¼ pounds ground beef

¼ cup chopped fresh coriander leaves

½ cup grated onions

2 teaspoons rosewater

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons cold water

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

1¼ teaspoons kosher salt 

¼ teaspoon coarsely ground fresh black pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (for frying)

2 bay leaves

 

For Meatball Layer:

1 or 1¼ pounds ground beef

¼ cup finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

½ cup coarsely grated onions

2 teaspoons rosewater

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons cold water

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon kosher salt (if using kosher meat use only ¼ to ½ teaspoon)

¼ teaspoon coarsely ground fresh black pepper

¼ cup matzah cake meal (for rolling meatballs before frying)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (for frying)

 

For Omelet Layer #1:

5 large eggs, lightly beaten

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons reserved oil from fried meatballs (or use extra virgin olive oil), for frying

 

For Omelet Layer #2:

5 large eggs, lightly beaten

For Topmost Egg Layer:

1 dozen large eggs, lightly beaten

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon rosewater

 

For Serving:

Rose water

Coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves

Toasted pine nuts and pistachios, coarsely chopped

Ground cinnamon

 

 

DIRECTIONS:

 

Meatball Preparation 

Combine all meatball ingredients (except the matzah cake flour and oil) 

Roll a tablespoon of meat like a ball. Use all the meat to make meatballs.

Place the meatballs in a small bowl of the matzah cake flour 

Roll a meatball in the matzah cake flour and gently place it into the hot oil

Fry for 4 minutes

Set aside and reuse the olive oil for the omelets.

 

Omelet Preparation 

Omelet #1 : 

2 tablespoons of the reserved oil from the meatballs in a nonstick 10-inch skillet over high heat.

Pour the egg mixture and cook 3 minutes.

Set aside 

Omelet #2 : 

Do the same as Omelet #1

 

The omelets do not have to be very, very cooked.

 

Ground Meat Layer

Combine all ground meat ingredients, remove and Cook 8 minutes. Pour into a bowl and set aside 

 

 

ASSEMBLE

 

- Pour the omelet #1 in the bottom of of the same oily skillet. If the omelet is a little beyond the edges of the skillet it is better.

- Add the ground beef over the omelet

- Pour the omelet #2 over the ground beef

- Cover with the meatballs

- Then Pour the Topmost Egg Layer mixture over the top of the meatballs. (like the final layer of the pie) 

- Cover the skillet tightly and steam over low heat until eggs on top have solidified

and fused with meatballs and rest of cake, about 30 minutes.

 

Once cooked, let it cool. One hour later, flip the skillet into a large plate. The omelet #1 is now on the top. Add 3 teaspoons of rose water above the dish.

 

Just before serving, toast the pine nuts and pistachios (important), chop the mint, and add just a little of cinnamon sprinkle over.

 

You can serve it hot but at at the room temperature it is perfect too. It is a good dish for Shabbat because you can prepare it before!

 

Be-te-avon! Buen provecho amigos!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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