Savory Bread Pudding with Short Ribs and Chickpeas
1 hour 5 minutes
"One of my favorite memories from visits to Beirut was listening to the sizzle of fried pine nuts in hot clarified butter hit the top of a fatteh at street corner stalls, where vendors were making this dish to order for hungry crowds. It takes only one bite to understand the magic of fatteh, the ultimate breakfast and brunch mezze dish and a perfect cure for a hangover."
1½ lbs bone-in beef short ribs
1½ tsp kosher salt, plus more as needed
1½ tsps Baharat
2 tsp Khalta Hara
¼ tsp ground cardamom
¾ cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight , or one 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Pinch of baking soda (for dried chickpeas only)
2 tbsp neutral oil, such as sunflower or canola
1 yellow onion, cut into large wedges
½ fennel bulb, cut into large wedges
3 garlic cloves, halved
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
5 cardamom pods
1 bay leaf
½ tsp ground cumin
3/4 cup whole milk yogurt
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp lemon juice (about ½ lemon)
1 tsp minced or grated garlic (about
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 cups store-bought pita chips or 2-inch pieces of pita bread, fried
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tbsp Clarified Butter or extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp coarsely chopped parsley
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses, and/or 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
In a large bowl, rub the short ribs with the salt, spice mix, Aleppo pepper, and cardamom, then cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours ahead of time. Set the ribs out at room temperature 90 minutes before cooking.
If you are using dried chickpeas, place them in a small pot with a pinch of baking soda and cover the beans with about 6 inches of water. Bring to a boil, skim, discard the residue from the water's surface, and decrease the heat to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, uncovered, until the beans soften, about 30 minutes. Test for doneness by squeezing a bean between your thumb and forefinger. If you are using canned chickpeas, skip this step.
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Warm the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear the short ribs, cooking to a nice crusty brown before flipping, about 3 minutes per side. Remove and set aside. In the same pot, char the onion, fennel bulb, and garlic on medium-high heat. Return the meat to the Dutch oven and add about 3 cups hot water or just enough to barely cover the ribs. Add the fennel seeds, cardamom pods, and bay leaf. Cover and braise until the meat easily pulls away from the bone, 2½ to 3 hours. If you do not have a Dutch oven, sear the meat and vegetables in a cast-iron or heavy skillet and transfer to a roasting pan, add water and spices, and cover with aluminum foil before cooking. Set the meat aside and allow to cool slightly if time permits.
Strain the braising liquid into a small saucepan. Discard the remaining braising vegetables and bones. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium heat and then decrease the heat to a simmer. Add the cumin and chickpeas and simmer until the chick- peas are tender but not mushy, about 10 minutes. Adjust the salt to taste.
Tear the meat to your liking, into shreds or small chunks.
To make the sauce: Combine the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until incorporated.
When ready to assemble, spread the pita chips in a base layer of a serving bowl or a casserole dish. Spoon the warm shredded meat over the top, then ladle the broth and chickpeas over the meat and chips. Next, drizzle on an even layer of the yogurt sauce.
When ready to serve, sauté the pine nuts in the butter over medium-low heat, stirring continuously until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Drizzle the sizzling butter and pine nuts over the dish. Top with the parsley and molasses.
Reprinted with permission from Arabiyya: Recipes from the Life of an Arab in Diaspora by Reem Assil, copyright © 2022. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House. ”Photographs copyright © 2022 by Alanna Hale Illustrations copyright © 2022 by Cece Carpio