Monday, August 29, 2016

Jegarak












     A Traditional Persian Style Liver Kebab!
     The word "Jegar" means liver in Farsi language.  Today's recipe is a kebab of calves liver.  Goats milk yogurt or a yogurt sauce accompanies the Jegarak.  Harissa Sauce tastes great with Jegarak too.    
     Kebabs of all kinds are Persian and Arabic street food fare and these items are perfect for a quick lunch or afternoon snack.  Street food style kebabs are nearly always served with Khubz Arabi (pita bread) or Lavash.  The meat on the kebab is placed on the flat bread along with some sauce, then it is eaten with fingers.  Persian pickles are refreshing and they usually accompany this kind of street food.
     Jegarak is simple and refreshing, when compared to European liver entrées that can be quite heavy on the tummy.  It seems like 90% of the world's liver recipes require plenty of onion.  Jegarak is a liver entrée that is not smothered in onions.
     The yogurt sauce accompaniment for Jegarak is meant to be refreshing.  Turmeric, mint, garlic and parsley flavor the zesty goat milk yogurt sauce.

     Garlic Mint Yogurt Sauce:
     This recipe yields about 3/4 cup.  (2 portions)
     There is no lemon, lime, olive oil, sea salt or pepper in this yogurt sauce.  This zesty sauce is meant to be a light refreshing accompaniment for grilled liver kebabs! 
     Step 1:  Place 1/2 cup of goat milk yogurt (Greek Yogurt) in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1 tablespoon minced mint leaves.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced Italian Parsley leaves.
     Add 2 pinches of turmeric.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Add a few drops of water at a time while whisking, till the the yogurt sauce is the consistency of cream.  (about 1 teaspoon)
     Place the sauce in a container.
     Chill the yogurt sauce for at least 20 minutes, so the flavors meld.

     Jegarak Preparation:
     This recipe yields 1 kebab portion.
     Jegarak is not highly seasoned.  It is the cooking method that makes Jegarak unique!
     Step 1:  Soak a 10" bamboo skewer in water for at least 15 minutes.
     Step 2:  Select a 6 to 8 ounce slice of calves liver that is about 1/4" thick.
     Cut the liver 1" wide strips that are 3" to 4" long.
     Step 3:  Weave the strips of calves liver onto the bamboo skewer. 
     Step 4:  Place the kebab on a platter.
     Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the liver kebab.
     Completely coat the liver by turning the kebab in the olive oil that lies on the platter.
     Season the kebab with sea salt and black pepper.
     Chill the kebab till it is needed.  

     Jegarak Set Up Plate: 
     This recipe yields 1 fancy street vender style set-up plate.  
     The Jegarak kebab will cook very quickly.  It is best to have the plate set up and ready, before starting to cook the kebab!
     Jars of Harissa Sauce, Arabic Scratched Olives and Persian Pickles are available in Mediterranean food markets.  
     Step 1:  Place a bed of Italian Parsley sprigs on the front half of a serving platter, as a bed for the Jekarak.
     Place a ramekin of Harissa Sauce on the back half of the platter.
     Place ramekin of the Garlic Mint Yogurt Sauce next to the Harissa.
     Step 2:  Garnish the platter with assorted Persian Pickles of your choice.
     *Persian Pickled Wild Cucumber, Pickled Pink Turnip and Arabic Scratched Green Olives are on the platter in the photos.
     Set the Jegarak presentation platter aside.

     Jegarak:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.  
     Step 1:  Heat cast iron ribbed griddle or a chargrill to a medium/medium high temperature.  (A broiler in an oven can also be used to cook the Jegarak.)
     Grill the Jegarak Kebab till a few brown highlights appear on all sides and the liver is cooked to about a medium well finish temperature.  (The liver should be juicy inside and not dried out!)
     Step 2:  Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lime juice over the kebab to finish the Jegarak.
     Step 3:  Place the Jegarak on the bed of parsley sprigs on the set-up platter.
     Step 4:  Quickly warm a 6" to 8" wide pita bread (Khubz Arabi) on the grill.
     Cut the pita into medium size triangle shapes.
     Place the pita bread triangles on the border of the back half of the platter, so they overlap.

     I never thought that I would see the day, when I would describe a calves liver entrée as being refreshing, but this is how Jegarak tastes!  The cool refreshing Persian Pickles and Scratched Green Olives add eye appeal.

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