Recipes That Changed How America Eats

the immigrant cookbook

A lovely and exciting cookbook, “The Immigrant Cookbook: Recipes that Make America Great” with recipes collected and edited by Leyla Moushabeck, was released recently by Interlink Publishing.

Most of us have ancestors or relatives from many different ethnic groups who came to America looking for a haven; they were people seeking refuge from political or economic troubles, or they were simply in search of adventure and prosperity in a land where opportunity is promised to all. They came from all over the world and brought valuable gifts—not the least of which were recipes from their homelands that helped transform the way America eats.

This cookbook offers a culinary celebration of the many ethnic groups that have contributed to our vibrant food culture. It features mouthwatering recipes by renowned immigrant-American chefs from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Europe.

Eighty top immigrant chefs, descendants of immigrants, and food writers have each contributed a recipe to this beautifully photographed cookbook. Included are recipes from José Andrés, Enrique Olvera, Dominique Ansel, Martin Yan, Laila el-Haddad and Ana Sortun.

Interlink is donating a minimum of $5 from the sale of each book to support the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. To find out more, visit www.immigrantcookbook.net.

Cranberry Bean Soup with Farro

This recipe is (c) to Maraco Canora, and its origin is Italy.

“My mom was born and raised in Lucca in Tuscany, a region famous for farro and soups. I’m sharing a recipe for a super-traditional Tuscan soup. To be honest, I’m not that interested in innovation; there are things that have stood the test of the time for a reason,” Maraco Canora shares in the cookbook. “As a chef, I like to focus on quality and execution, respecting traditions and keeping that lineage alive. I feel that more respect and attention must be given to timeless classics. You will need to soak the beans overnight.”

Serves 8

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
2 medium onions, chopped
3 small carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
3 olive oil-packed anchovy fillets
Sea salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2¼ cups (1 lb/450 g) dried cranberry beans, soaked overnight, drained
10 cups broth or water
Bouquet garni (a few sprigs each of thyme, rosemary and sage, tied with a string), plus extra thyme to garnish
¾ cup (5 oz) farro
Ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, for serving

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over high heat. When the oil is hot and slides easily across the pan, add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and anchovies, and a couple of pinches of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Add the tomato paste, stirring well to coat the vegetables. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened and darkened, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the beans, broth or water, bouquet garni, and a couple of pinches of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a gentle simmer (there should only be a little movement in the liquid). Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are soft and creamy, 1 to 2 hours. (This is a forgiving soup, so don’t worry about overcooking it.)

In a small pot, cook the farro according to the package instructions, until it is just cooked.

When the beans are cooked, remove the bouquet garni. Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender and add to a clean pot over medium heat. Add salt and pepper to taste and adjust the consistency with more water or broth, if needed.

To serve, place 3 tablespoons of farro in each serving bowl. Ladle the soup over it, and garnish with fresh thyme, Parmesan, and a few dots of olive oil.

Photo | Anders Schonnemann Mourad Lahlou’s Chicken with Charmoula

Photo | Anders Schonnemann
Mourad Lahlou’s Chicken with Charmoula

Chicken with Charmoula

From (c) Mourad Lahlou, origin Morocco

“Before the development of the poultry industry in Morocco in the 1970s, it was customary to go to the market and pick out a live chicken,” Mourad Lahlou shares in the cookbook. “The chickens were large and the meat really needed to be soaked and braised or it would be extremely tough. The breed of chicken, a beldi, is equivalent to some of the free-range artisan chickens sold in the US. And this is still what I prefer to use, pure poultry raised by hardworking farmers who take pride in their product. Though it is not as critical in a recipe like this, which marinates the meat in spices and herbs, I still encourage you to seek out the purest ingredients available to you.

Look for preserved lemons in specialty and Middle Eastern grocery stores. The chicken will need to marinate overnight or for at least 6 hours, and you will need 6 long skewers for this recipe. (If you use wooden skewers, you will need to soak them for at least 20 minutes).”

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
(about 2 lb/1 kg in total)

Charmoula
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped thyme
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons coarsely chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic cloves
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt
freshly ground black pepper

Vinaigrette
¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1½ tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2½ tablespoons diced preserved lemon

Stir all of the charmoula ingredients together in a large bowl.
Trim the chicken breasts of any excess fat and remove the tenders. Cut the breasts and tenders into 1½-inch pieces. Add the chicken pieces to the charmoula, turning to coat them, and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 6 hours.

Soak 6 long wooden skewers in cold water to cover for at least 20 minutes (or plan on using metal ones).

Next, make the vinaigrette: In a bowl, whisk the olive oil, lime juice and parsley together. Stir in the preserved lemon and set aside.

Preheat a grill to medium-high heat, or heat a large cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat on your stovetop.

Lift a quarter of the chicken pieces from the marinade, letting any excess stay in the bowl. Skewer the pieces, leaving about ¼ inch between them, so the chicken will cook evenly. Repeat with the remaining chicken and skewers. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Lay the skewers on the hot grill or grill pan and don’t move until well marked, 2 to 3 minutes. Rotate the skewers 90 degrees and grill to mark with a crosshatch pattern, about 1 minute more. Turn the skewers over and grill until the chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes.

Carefully remove the chicken from the skewers to a bowl. Add just enough of the vinaigrette to lightly coat the meat, and serve with any remaining vinaigrette on the side.

Find more of Sheilah’s culinary treats at www.cookingwithsheilah.com.

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