Moghrabieh is a traditional Lebanese dish, although also used in Syria, Jordan and Israel. Usually the centrepiece of a special meal for family and close friends, for me it is also a very homely dish which is highlighted by its traditional aromatic spices which are found in most Lebanese Namliyeh (pantries). I have chosen to share this recipe as I feel it is one that best represents the large winter gatherings shared with my close family.

Chicken Moghrabieh
Serves 4–6 people

500g moghrabieh
1 whole chicken (free range)
10 shallots
1 cup fresh cooked chickpeas
3 carrots, peeled and chopped in large pieces
250g butternut pumpkin peeled and cut in large pieces
2 tbsp ground caraway
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Clean and boil chicken in a large saucepan, adding 1 stick of cinnamon, 2 bay leaves and let simmer gently until tender, skimming the froth at the surface. Peel and brown the shallots, carrots and butternut pumpkin in some olive oil until caramelised on all sides.

Strain the chicken, keeping the stock simmering gently. Add the cooked chickpeas, browned vegetables and spices to the stock and let simmer for 15 minutes and then add the moghrabieh and continue simmering for another 15 minutes or until soft.

Take apart the chicken, disregarding the bones and skin, and keeping some large pieces intact. To finish, spoon the moghrabieh in a serving dish with some of the chicken pieces arranged on top. Garnish with chopped parsley.

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