Vol au Vent Algérienne (Algerian Puff Pastry)

Vol au Vent Algérienne (Algerian Puff Pastry)

A classic French puff pastry filled with a creamy béchamel sauce spiced with an Algerian twist. These puff pastries make an amazing addition to any table but be careful as these are very rich in ingredients. It’s easy to eat one to many of these.

Ingredients:

  • 6 puff pastry shells (premade)
  • 1/2 pound minced beef
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 ounces cubed cheese (I use smoked gouda but any cheese is fine)
  • 4 ounces diced mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons smen (clarified butter but pure butter can be substituted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parsley to garnish

Directions:

  1. In a large pan melt smen/butter over medium-low heat, making sure to not burn it.
  2. Slowly sprinkle flour and whisk rapidly, creating a heavy sauce texture.
  3. Add milk and continue to whisk. Then add cheese to melt.
  4. In another pan brown beef and mushrooms.
  5. Season with cumin, salt and pepper.
  6. Drain oil from beef.
  7. Once the cheese has melted into a “béchamel” sauce like texture pour over beef and set aside.
  8. Bake puff pastry shells.
  9. Remove tops from shells and fill with beef/cheese mixture.
  10. Garnish with parsley and serve.

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Osbane de Poulet (Algerian Stuffed Chicken)

Osbane de Poulet

Osbane de Poulet is one of the very first dishes my husband ever prepared for me. It’s one of the many reasons why I fell in love with him. Not just because it tastes amazing, but because we share a passion for food. Yes, everyone loves to eat, but we could be eating and thinking about what we’ll eat tomorrow or even next week. It’s very common in a French household to do the same and since Algerians are heavily influenced by the French due to their colonization, this habit runs strong in the family.

This dish is fairly heavy and rich in flavor, I would suggest this dish to be paired with many vegetables. Meat stuffed into more meat, it’s an American dream.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large chicken breast
  • 8 ounces minced beef
  • 1 large onion grated
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • 1 small tomato sliced
  • 6 ounces chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 ounces rice
  • 2 ounces olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

  1. Soak rice for 10 minutes in advance.
  2. Preheat oven to 375° F
  3. Combine minced beef, chopped onion, parsley, rice, cumin, cinnamon, salt and black pepper in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Slice chicken to roll out flat.
  5. In the middle of breast fill with beef mixture about 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup. Roll the right side into the left and the left on top of the right.
  6. Secure together with toothpicks.
  7. If there is any leftover beef mixture roll into meatballs.
  8. Lay each breast into a baking dish.
  9. Drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  10. Layer on slices of tomato and onion.
  11. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil in a “A-Style Tent” and bake for 40 minutes.
  12. Remove aluminum foil and continue baking for an additional 30 minutes.
  13. Let set for 10 minutes, remove toothpicks and serve. Best served with mashed potatoes.

*cooking times may differentiate due to location. always check that the meat is cook thoroughly.

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Techniques on filling chicken:

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Orange Spiced Chocolate Truffles

Orange Spiced Chocolate Truffles

These truffles are so rich and divine that they are actually named after the fungus truffle; which is one of the most expensive ingredients in the kitchen. Leave it to the French to take a brown something from the ground and make it expensive, lol. Actually the chocolate truffles are named after the truffles fungus because of the resemblance in the cooking process. Lightly spiced with the third most expensive ingredient in the world, Cardamom, these will awaken your tastebuds for sure.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange blossom water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup each of finely chopped nuts of your choice

Directions:

  1. In a small sauce pan, whisk together cream, cardamom, sugar and orange blossom water.
  2. Bring to a simmer and set aside.
  3. In a heat safe bowl place the chocolate chips in and pour cream mixture over. Slowly stirring with a spatula until smooth.
  4. Set aside until cool, place in freezer for 30 minutes or just hardened enough until it is malleable.
  5. Scoop into 1 inch balls and roll into nuts. Place on wax paper and freeze.
  6. Best served frozen as they will not harden completely through.

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Chorba Frik (Algerian Soup with Cracked Wheat)

Chorba Frik (Algerian Soup with Cracked Wheat)

Chorba Frik or Jari as it is known in the western part of the country is the most requested soup during Ramadan. Chorba Frik is just one of those recipes that you MUST know if you are married to an Algerian or wanting to. It’s right up there next to Couscous, lol. No pressure though. This recipe is easy to follow and just as wonderful. From the smokiness from the frik to the tanginess of the cilantro, this recipe will be sure to tantalize your tastebuds. Pair this soup with bourek, bread and harissa.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lamb cubed (beef and or chicken can be substituted)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 zucchinis cut into demi circles
  • 2 potatoes quartered
  • 2 carrots cut into 3 sections
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2/3 cup frik (cracked wheat)
  • 1/2 cup chick peas (soaked overnight)
  • 4 mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 8 cups hot water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • beef/chicken bouillon (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and sprinkle with salt to sweat.
  2. Add meat and brown quickly. Season with spices and add chickpeas.
  3. Add 1/2 of cilantro.
  4. Continue browning the meat and add the carrots and potatoes. Seer the vegetables slightly.
  5. Add the 8 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute.
  6. Lower heat to a simmer and continue for 15 minutes then add zucchini. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
  7. Remove vegetables into a separate bowl with 1 cup of broth.
  8. Emulsify vegetables until smooth with hand blender or crush with potato masher/fork.
  9. Place vegetable puree back into pot and add frik.
  10. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes and add lemon juice. Adjust taste with salt.

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Djedj Bezzitoun (Algerian Chicken and Olives)

Chicken Tadjine

Chicken and olives is the very first “tadjine” recipe I ever learned and of course being in the States I learned without a tadjine. It isn’t necessary to cook this dish in one, but it is used traditionally. This dish is usually called a tadjine throughout the country and is served in one but in the city of Algiers it’s just called chicken and olives, no tadjine required. This dish is paired great with bread as is everything in the Algerian cuisine. You can use any cut of chicken but my husband’s favorite is the leg and mine is the thigh since those are the tastiest parts of meat. Whatever it is you have on hand would surely do the job wonderfully.

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium sliced onions
  • 3 pounds chicken (whichever cut you like)
  • 6 ounces green olives
  • 4 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground saffron
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add sliced onions and sprinkle with salt to help sweat.
  3. Add chicken, season with cumin, cinnamon, saffron, salt and pepper.
  4. Brown chicken slightly.
  5. Add water to just cover the chicken.
  6. In a clean cup warm a half cup of water and add the tablespoon of cornstarch. Whisking fast to ensure there will not be any clumps of cornstarch.
  7. Add mixture to pot.
  8. Simmer for 30-45 minutes add olives and mushrooms. Continue for an additional 5 minutes.

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*As with every recipe that comes translated from Algeria there is a lack of boullion. The meat is very different there than in the States, so if your dish is lacking “richness” in flavor please add a chicken bouillon.