A couple of years ago I spent Ramadan in Istanbul. Though I am not a religious person I was frequently invited to break fast with my Turkish family which extended to include everyone I met. Having the same parents is not required to adopt a brother. I am not kidding, I have never in my life experienced such warmth and hospitality.
Of course I collected recipes as I had some of the most wonderful food of my life. Breaking fast is an ancient tradition and the recipes at this time of year make every meal a party. Most nights there was Pide bread and lentil soup at the beginning then any number of meze followed by a main course. This was one of my absolute favorites.
Whatever your religion or lack thereof it would not hurt to fast for a a day and be doubly grateful for your food as you break bread with friends.
Chicken with a thick walnut and pomegranate sauce.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs, cut up
2 white onions, thinly sliced
2 stalks of chopped celery
1/2 pound walnuts, toasted and finely
ground in a food processor
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups pomegranate juice
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon corriander
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
|1.||Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place chicken and onions in skillet, and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in pureed walnuts, celery, salt, pomegranate juice, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. (If the sauce becomes too thick, stir in 1/4 cup warm water.) Taste for salt and seasoning and serve with Basmati Rice.|