NEW! Welcome to our Recipe of the Month blog! Each month we will showcase a chef, and customer, favorite recipe with ingredients, a how-to guide and a video. Snap a picture of your creation when you’re done and tag us on Facebook or Instagram with a picture of our food that you have re-created.
Our first recipe is called Mouloukia, also known as Jute Leaf Stew. Mouloukia is a green leafy vegetable, available fresh mainly in the summer, or available frozen or dry all year long. It is indigenous to the Middle East and Africa and prepared mostly in soups and stews. The leaves are from the jute plant known for its fiber from which jute bags and rags are made. Mouloukia leaves are a super-food, they have many health benefits including aiding in digestion, circulation, and immunity. Read about the benefits of this delicious stew HERE.
The preparation has many variations, one of which has to do with how long the leaves cook in the broth. In Egypt the leaves are chopped real fine and dropped into the broth, not like in this recipe. And some people are very particular about serving the soup as soon as the leaves are dropped in it.
The word Mouloukia means "fit for kings." It is a revered dish of the Middle East region and in our home in particular. It reflects festivities, good times, and reuniting with friends and family.
Watch our seasoned chef Randa as she prepares this dish and provides some professional tips and tricks. Then be sure to print this page and save a copy of the recipe below. Let’s dish the details on this Middle Eastern delicacy…
Mouloukia Soup with Lamb and Chicken
I N G R E D I E NT S :
Fresh mouloukia (Jute leaves) 1 ½ lb
Fresh lamb from leg meat cut into stew chunks 1 lb
Fresh whole chicken 2 ½ - 3 lbs
Cilantro fresh, chopped 2 cups
Chopped garlic ¼ cup
Butter 3 tbsp
Olive oil 2 tbsp
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Medium Onion cut in chunks
1 Medium Carrot cut in ½
4 Bay Leaves
2 Celery Ribs cut in chunks
2 Cinnamon Sticks
Onion and Vinegar dressing:
1 Large Red Onion, finely chopped
1 Cup Good Quality Red Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
P R E P A R A T I O N :
Pull leaves of jute stems and wash. Discard the stem. Spread the leaves on a baking pan or serving tray lined with clean kitchen towel and let them dry. This step can be done the day before.
Rinse chicken and place in a large enough pot to boil. Add water to cover, along with half the aromatics and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. With a slotted spoon, skim the top of the broth as soon as it foams, and continue cooking until chicken is tender and leg bone pulls off easily from the meat. About an hour. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Rinse lamb and place in cooking pot, add enough water to cover and bring to boil. For better flavor when cooking lamb, drain cooking water 2 times and replace it with new water. When adding water the third time, add remaining aromatics and bring to boil. Add salt and pepper and continue to cook until meat tender to the fork, 45 min to an hour. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
In a another pot , heat butter and olive oil together, add chopped cilantro and garlic and cook until fragrant and cilantro starts to change color, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add chopped mouloukia leaves and sauté together with garlic and cilantro for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
When meat is cool, drain broth from lamb and chicken into separate containers and keep meats separate. Pull the meat of the chicken and set it aside. Reserve a small amount of the broth into each type of meat to keep it moist and easy to reheat. Use the broth you prefer into the soup or a mixture of both, you will need about 8 cups of broth which you will add to the sauteed leaves and bring to boil. Reduce to desired consistency, adjust seasoning and serve in a bowl over white rice preferably short grain. Top with meat of choice and the onion and vinegar dressing. Sprinkle toasted pita chips.