When it comes to classic recipes, while most people love the flavours, a lot feel bored with serving them thinking they are not elegant enough and therefore not exactly impressive. Understandably, the modern table requires a bit more imagination and the look (as well as serving) of classic foods sometimes does not fit the occasion, especially if we are going with an overall fancier look and feel in which case a stew is less preferrable. So, when I developed this recipe, I had that notion in mind, and wanted to give you a recipe that keeps the original flavours of a classic and best loved dish, but upgraded with a more modern style. Because some recipes are just too good to become forgotten!
I have drawn inspiration from the traditional Palestinian dish Yakhnet Zahra (stew of cauliflower) which classically is cooked with lamb pieces on the bone and all cooked in lamb broth then served with rice and a squeeze of lemon. While the communal look of the classic dish is fine for everyday cooking, when it comes to entertaining, you would want the food to look a tad more elegant on the table and perhaps you would also like to serve a more impressive dish altogether. Therefore, I had changed the whole look and experience of serving this dish, but kept the integrity of the classic dish’s flavour and textures, because I wanted everyone to know the dish from the flavours, yet feel like it was completely new and worthy of serving on a modern table.
When it comes to modern cooking, today, we are much better informed about food and its health effects. A modern recipe has to take this knowledge into account and therefore I have also adapted this dish to the modern healthier eating requirements. So instead of frying the cauliflower, I went for roasting in minimal amounts of olive oil for flavour. I had trimmed all excess fats from the leg of lamb and had roasted it covered, in a pan half-filled with broth to ensure it does not dry. Of course I had used organic all along, I cook and eat organic foods wherever organic is available. The result is absolutely succulent, melt in your mouth tender meat, full on flavour and in no way compromising your health. Furthermore, instead of serving this dish with the traditional white rice – which we all know even as a complex carb may have adverse effects especially on diabetic patients. With the large rise in the number of diabetic patients in this region – I had chosen to serve it with an equally delicious side, with textures that will simulate the rice experience, however healthier for us and diabetic more friendly for those of us who have diabetes. As such, I serve this dish with a side of cauliflower and pine nut salsa. Basically the same filling I am using for the stuffing, but with a tad more pine nuts and an acidic dressing of lemon juice and olive oil, which enhance the flavour of the cauliflower and are true to the original squeeze of lemon in the classic serving.
I had cooked this recipe on multiple occasions, every time without fail, this recipe impressed everyone, raised many eyebrows in good surprise and became the talk of the occasion. It does taste very good and no one could ever stop eating. Am telling you this, because I really want to encourage you to give it a try, and you will see how you too are going to love it.
I have adapted this recipe for Nestle (as I usually also develop recipes for clients). The video below shows that recipe, and I have included it here to show you how it’s made. Please do note though that I personally always cook with homemade chicken broth, and do not recommend you use processed alternatives. As you all know I am all about eating organic foods, natural homemade ingredients and keeping away from processed foods. However, the choice is totally yours, as am sure you are aware of all the health risks of consuming processed foods…etc.