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Araksi served a table full of scrumptious mezza items before dinner, including ‘sheel abour’. As we slathered the sheel abour onto pita wedges, Araksi asked if I knew where she had gotten the recipe. I truly had no idea. She said, “I got this recipe at your house from Betty Kabobjian** when we were together for Mandy’s high school graduation party – in 1999.”
It’s interesting to see how recipes make the rounds!
**A little family background: Dick Kabobjian, Betty’s husband, and my dad were cousins, so we’ve known the two of them forever. Betty was always the hostess-with-the-mostess and all around incredible cook. Dick, like all of the other Dikranagerdsis I know, loved to party. Whenever Dick and my dad got together, you’d never know what juicy dialog would pop out of their mouths. Women blushed in their presence – and - everyone who understood their dialect, had a good belly- laugh.
I digress… back to the recipe.
I posted a similar recipe - ‘Sour Spinach and Rice’ - from the “Assyrian Cookbook”, sent in by John and Pat Nashmy, but didn’t have the Kabobjian version. Arkasi kindly provided me with a copy, which I will now share with you.
2 – 10 oz. packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess liquid drained
½ cup rice (short grain works well)
½ cup fine (#1) bulgur
Salt and pepper to taste
2-8 oz. cans tomato sauce
½ cup fresh lemon juice (or more)
2 cups water
2 large onions, finely chopped
½ cup canola oil
1. In a large saucepan, cook together the spinach, rice, bulgur, salt and pepper, tomato sauce, lemon juice and water - first bringing the liquid to a boil, then reducing the heat to medium-low and covering the pot - until rice and bulgur are soft – about 25 minutes.
2. While the spinach-rice mixture is cooking, heat the oil and sauté the onions until soft but not burned.
3. When the spinach-rice mixture is done, add the sautéed onion.
NOTE: Serve as an appetizer with pita chips or wedges of pita bread, or as a side dish. This can be served hot or cold.