Last night was a perfect spring package if I ever did smell it. Paducah’s streets are lit up with all the finery of the Dogwood Trail, and the air is heavy with blossoms. Oh, if only I could bottle it.
In fact, I lingered outside for so long yesterday afternoon that I didn’t get to the grocery before our Lenten potluck at Grace Church, and so as our contribution, I whipped together a melange of Middle East flavors that I had on hand. Melange…love that word. May-LAWWN-juh. Be sure to draw out the “awww” as long as possible as you’re cooking it. It will make you feel a swirl of Southern, French, and Middle Eastern, all at the same time.
I got enough compliments and requests for the recipe that I figured it needed to be shared.
This is virtually a one pot meal. I say virtually because you do need a separate pot to cook the rice. But once you dump in the rice, it then becomes a true one pot meal. The ingredients may seem a bit odd, but they blend beautifully. I used chicken apple sausage (my favorite sausage, if you hadn’t noticed) and a whole head of cabbage as the foundation, and then added a smattering of spices, tomatoes, and rice.
Try it! You might even decide to take it to your own church potluck when you get so absorbed in spring that you forget to do anything but smell the flowers.
Now shake that booty!
Middle East Melange
- Prep time: 15 minutes
- Cook (simmer) time: 10 minutes
- 2 cups chicken broth (or 4 tsp chicken broth base)
- 1 cup basmati rice (or your favorite rice)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 5 links (1 pack) chicken apple sausage (or your favorite healthy sausage), thinly sliced
- 1 medium head of cabbage, chopped
- 1 Tbsp Hungarian sweet paprika (or regular paprika)
- 2 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 1/4 tsp cardamom (if you don’t have this, just leave it out and use a bit more allspice)
- 1/4 tsp allspice (if you don’t have this, use equal parts cinnamon and nutmeg)
- 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
- Louisiana Hot Sauce, Tabasco, or your favorite hot sauce to taste
- In a medium pot, heat chicken broth (or 4 tsp broth base and 2 cups water) to boiling, then add rice, lower heat, cover, and simmer 10 minutes or until rice is fluffy and liquid is absorbed (cook times will vary depending on rice variety)
- Meanwhile heat olive oil over medium high heat in a dutch oven or large pot until shimmering while you thinly slice the sausage
- Cook sausage in oil for about 3 minutes or until it begins to brown while you chop the cabbage.
- Add cabbage, spices, tomatoes, and tomato sauce, and stir well
- Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes until cabbage is tender