Well it has been quite the hiatus for the Culinary-Passport for several reasons like the holidays, lack of food truck roundups, difficulty finding restaurants for new countries, plus a dash of laziness and a general dislike of the new WordPress editor. But I’ve put most of that behind me and figured out a work around for the no new restaurants issue.
The purpose of the blog is to sample foods of the world locally and it doesn’t get more local that my own kitchen so what I decided to do was occasionally pick a country, find a recipe or two from that locale and whip it up myself. There seemed to be no better place to start than alphabetically from the list of countries I downloaded from someplace on the internet. I’d covered Afghanistan so Albania it was.
I found the shishqebap me mish pule recipe first and went looking for something that might be a side that turned into the presh me oriz dish. You will find both recipes on the Tell Me More page.
I made a couple of modifications by using a honey infused with peppers and since I couldn’t find the Albanian salami I used two different types of Italian salamis. Let me also offer a tip if you try to make this. Use only a teaspoon of the oregano. The proportions for the marinate were too heavy on the dry ingredients and I wound up with a paste that didn’t want to spread and once it was initially mixed more olive oil just wouldn’t blend.
At the end of the day it was tasty and the different textures were interesting. Definitely a dish that would go well with a frosty brew.
The presh me oriz or leek and rice bake instead of being a side really turned out to be a meal on its own.
The only variation I made to this recipe was using chicken broth I happened to have on hand in lieu of the lamb stock. The ingredient list is relatively small but the end result is a ton of food. Also you will need a big pan as at one point you have everything getting sauteed and brought to a boil before transferring to the baking dish. I used a flat bottom wok and it was a perfect size.
This casserole is straight up comfort food. I hadn’t cooked a lot with leeks and I thought both the leeks and the onions would be overpowering but they weren’t. It was mild and with the ground lamb and rice made for a hearty filling dish that provided leftovers for days.
My Albanian experience was good. Of the two I’d probably be more likely to make the leek and rice bake again but the kebabs might make an appearance on a fall evening that called for grilling.