…yaani, “this isn’t fun anymore” is exactly what Madame Mrad thought after dinner. The company was… self absorbed? Well, at this point, there’s nothing worth talking about except that delicious meal she whipped up that afternoon.
Madame Mrad discovered there’s a special pork meat butcher in Bourj Hammoud called Michael’s Butchery (01-261380 or 03-825903) right off the Municipality Square! She really wanted to make Schweinshaxen (a German Pork Shank dish). It didn’t end up being a typical one but she made it à la Mme Mrad. Place the Pork Shanks in a big pot and cook in wheat beer (she also added a little white wine and topped it with water) then, throw in an onion, parsley, thyme, sage, garlic, peppercorns, cloves, sea salt, a carrot, an apple, celery and cook for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. It comes out so tender that it melts in your mouth.
Side dishes included:
A mélange of small potatoes (purple, green and yellow) sliced round, with a couple of chopped carrots, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary drizzled in olive oil and place in the oven. Toss every once in a while so nothing sticks to the pan and it doesn’t overcook the onions.
Red Cabbage Slaw – another German dish. First cook the red cabbage in water to soften it, then drain. Place some butter in the pot and throw in the cabbage and a shredded red onion, pour in some red wine, add an assortment of chopped dried fruit, apple, honey, cinnamon, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and cook until soft.
Asian Style Swiss Chard (yaani sili’ bil ‘arabi): in a wok drizzle olive oil and a bit of sesame oil, add the chopped up swiss chard, soy sauce and some lemon juice, salt and pepper, and toss until it slightly wilts. Sprinkle sesame seeds, and you’re all set!
A nice combo of different flavors (sweet, tangy and savory) to accompany those shanks (or hocks, if you will) and, of course, a bottle of good wine.
This time Madame Mrad thought to give the Syrian wine: Château Bargylus 2006 another try. This red is so thick you can almost chew it! Very tannic and metallic, the nose is deep dark berries and fresh pine forest. The palate was almost strong enough to wash that bad taste from Madame Mrad’s mouth… but not quite!! Do make sure to chill it a bit before serving. It makes a whole lotta difference.
So when are you leaving? What time’s your flight? Questions asked so many times that I diverted to Out-of-Office AutoReply.
Thanks for the dinner, Madame Mrad… Tikram ‘ain el ego taba’ak!