Yes, I may have taken a significant break from this blog, but I’m not idle in my silence. We, my Mom and I, are still cooking up a storm and experimenting with old and new recipes, trying to keep some of the traditional Persian flavours in the dishes, but also modifying cooking techniques to save time and minimize the number of ingredients we use.
Since having twins in May 2014, I have garnered a whole new appreciation for time. This is why I love my oven. This fiery, yet magical place holds the key to food that is healthy, efficiently prepared, and packed with flavour. Such an example is Tass Kabab (not on a skewer, as might be expected), which is traditionally made on the stove top using a slow cooking technique to generate flavours and incorporating the exotic flavour of quince, a pear-like fruit that is difficult to come by at the best of times. The autumn being its growing season, you might find these golden beauties at Middle-Eastern and other eclectic grocery stores.
So, although we love traditional Tass Kabab, we don’t have the time to stand over the stove and watch its every sizzling move, or shop for its obscure ingredients at a romantically leisurely pace.
That is how we came to the following modification: instead of the stove top and dutch oven, we used a run-of-the-mill oven-proof dish and layered it with sliced onions, Roma tomatoes cut down the middle, and patties of lean ground beef ( you could substitute ground bison, chicken, turkey, or tofu patties according to your preference) . Now you might think that forming burger patties would be time-consuming, and you would be right. To save time, we prepared them ahead of time and froze them so all that was needed was to thaw them out in advance for a few hours in the fridge. In order to retain moisture in the meat, we placed the patties on top of the sliced onions and topped them with the tomatoes and covered the dish with foil prior to placing it in the oven.
The dish was topped with salt, pepper, and generous amounts of sumac, a spice with a lemony, fresh flavour to it that can be procured very economically at Middle Eastern Grocery Stores.
The cooking temperature (375 degrees) and time (approximately 1 hour) in the oven are all that is needed to enjoy this Persian comfort food with leftovers to boot.