Sunday, November 25, 2007

Lablabi: Something New to Do With Your Turkey Carcass

On Friday we were invited to a Tunisian breakfast that our host described as a poultry broth with cumin over day-old bread. Only in this case he'd be using the turkey carcass from his Thanksgiving dinner. I phoned back to say that Amy had plans for a bike ride, but that it sounded right up my alley and that Axel and I would be there with bells on.

We met our hosts recently, and knew that both of them had spent time in northern Africa. First with the Peace Corps and then later to work on a documentary in Sierra Leone. Their twin girls are one month older than Axel. It was cold Saturday morning, Forty-one degrees when we piled out of the car and up the steps to their house. I could smell turkey broth through the front door.

Lablabi was as described but also included ras el-hanout, olive oil, lemon, capers, olives, harissa, and diced onions. Some of these were on the table as we sat down, and others appeared as Rob remembered them. He offered up that a more authentic version would also include a soft-boiled egg, that his non-traditional addition of choice is avocado, and that "ras el hanout" translated literally into "head of the shop".

You can dig up a handful of lablabi recipes through Google, but nowhere near the number of results you get for —say— tagine. I'm guessing there would be more recipes out there if the dish required some specially-shaped pot that Sur La Table et al could sell you. I'll be trying a version this week with a chicken carcass, and might have more to say about the various recipes then.

You can watch a video of the dish being prepared —egg and all— here.

Images are courtesy of, and linked to, and respectively.

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