Thanksgiving Maqluba

Taking an Arabic dish and bastardizing it to suit an american holiday is, at best, probably the most unconventional thing I’ve done in the kitchen. But when you have a general dislike of turkey (I never buy it at any other time of the year and here we get ours fresh, not frozen), coming up with something to replace the magnificently roasted centerpiece becomes a bit of a dilemma. Enter Anthony Bourdain’s show Parts Unknown. In season 2, episode 1, he sits down to Palestinian maqluba, an upside-down meat and rice dish. It’s easy to make, and as soon as I saw it, I knew my turkey problem was in the bag. There’s a short clip of it here:
Bourdain has traditional Palestinian meal

Screen grab
Maqluba in Parts Unknown

Early T-day morning I took a couple of turkey thighs, threw them into a pot with bottled bbq sauce, and cooked them, covered, in the oven until the meat was falling off the bone. Then I caramelized some onion, sliced up some yellow cauliflower, and layered everything into a straight-sided pot – onion, bbq turkey (shredded), cauliflower, and basmati rice. Poured in the necessary amount of water (a well-flavored broth is better), put on the lid, brought it to a simmer and allowed the whole thing to cook on a low flame for about 25 minutes. The maqluba needs to rest for 20 minutes to set up, and flipping it over is all in the wrist. Served with a salad of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers.

Thanksgiving maqluba


6 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Maqluba

  1. Lisa

    Wow that looks so good! I love trying new recipes an I also love ethnic cooking! My dream is to learn how to cook some East Indian dishes, Chinese cuisine, or Thai food, French food! The list goes on! Hugz Lisa and Bear


    1. Rowena Post author

      I’ve read or heard somewhere that those who like to try different cuisines are more “rounded out” as people? I think it reflects on how one is able (and open) to explore cultures not of their own. 🙂


  2. Kat

    Happy Thanksgiving! this sounds so good! For our T-day, I sautéed lamb with onions, eringi & red bell pepper and some cumin. then drizzled with mint yogurt sauce. Served with pita 🙂



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