After our non-country specific burger and chips last night, tonight we are back on track with the Olympic Food Challenge. Tonight's member of the National Olympic Committee is Iraq, a country sadly best known to us as a battle ground, rather than the cradle of creation*. It is possibly thanks to the country's recent history that its culture and food is not very well documented but one author, Nawal Nasralla, decided that we ought to know about her country. It was on her website that I found the recipe for tonight's meal.
Afkhadh al-Dijaj bil-Teen, or Chicken in Fig Sauce, struck me as a simple and yet authentic recipe so we set about finding the ingredients. To be honest there wasn't much to source but finding dried figs in Leeds could have been simpler. In the end I turned to twitter and asked the good people at Millies who, it turns out, sell dried almost everything, including figs.
The recipe states that dates could have been substituted for the figs but I'm glad we persisted. The sweetness of the figs along with coriander in the sauce created an almost festive flavour and the chicken was fall off the bone tender. I served the chicken with bulgar wheat**, which I cooked in vegetable stock, and garnished the entire plate with fresh parsley and pomegranate seeds.
This really was a great dish, one of the standout meals for the Olympic Food Challenge. I have already planned it into our Christmas meal planner as it is so simple and yet so full of flavour.
*I know which I'd rather be remembered as.
**a grain we really should eat more of, it's as easy to cook as rice and has a better texture than couscous.