Medieval wheat harisa with veal

This recipe from The Exile’s Cookbook is an Andalusian twist on a classic Arab dish, which goes back to pre-Islamic times. It is made with crushed wheat — the Arabic word harīsa (هريسة) is derived from a verb meaning ‘to mash’ –, which is slow-cooked and then added with fatty veal meat and suet in order to ensure a gluey consistency. But that’s only the half of it — the author recommends keeping some of the harīsa mixture to one side and frying it into patties, which are then added on top as a garnish, together with egg yolks and — if you have any — sparrows (!). A sprinkling of cinnamon, and then it’s time to serve! If you don’t have veal, feel free to use mutton or chicken, while the wheat can be subsituted for rice. Descendants of this dish are still around today, most notably the harees (هريس) of the Gulf and the Armenian harisseh.

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