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
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.