Makloubeh, a much beloved Palestinian dish (the word means "upside-down") is a casserole dish made with a layer of either chicken quarters or diced mutton that has been sauteed in clarified butter, a layer of sliced onion and eggplant and another layer of saffron-colored rice. Before being served the dish is turned upside down onto a large platter and sprinkled over with pine nuts. Needless to say, as with all folk-recipes, this one has a nearly infinite number of variations. Lamb can also be used instead of chicken.
If you are using kosher chicken do not add any extra salt. You get enough salt from the chicken and the salted eggplant.

2 large aubergines sliced
1 whole chicken, skinned and quartered (or 6 chicken thighs)
2 chopped onions
2 tbs pine nuts
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp paprika
2 small green chillis
2 tbs oil
1 small chopped caulieflower
1 1/2 cups rice
3 cups chicken stock
salt & pepper

Fry the pine nuts till golden brown and remove. Fry the chopped onions and chillis until soft and add meat, salt & spices. Fry till meat browned. Seperately, deep fry the aubergines and remove. Now deep fry the caulieflower for 1 min then remove. Put 2 tbs of rice in the pot and put the meat mixture on top. Then layer the vegetables on top ( try to arrange some aubergine slices around the sides). Add the remainder of the rice on top. Add the chicken stock, salt & pepper. Cover and simmer for 40 mins. To serve: place the pot UPSIDE-DOWN (translates to 'makloubeh') on a large dish. Carefully lift the pot trying to retain the shape of the contents. Decorate with the pine nuts. Serve with youghurt and green salad.

there's the syrian way too :
2 whole chickens, skinned and quartered (or 8 pieces chicken thighs)
3-1/2 c canola oil, plus 3 tablespoons
1 tsp fresh nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cumin powder
4 saffron threads
2 cinnamon sticks
5 whole cardamom seeds
3 peppercorns
5 c water
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large head cauliflower, trimmed into florets
2 large eggplant, peeled, cubed, and salted; make sure to place in a colander so water can drain
2 onions, halved through the root end and thinly sliced, core still attached
4 c medium grain rice
1 c converted rice
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp allspice
4 saffron threads
1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg
1/4 tsp fresh ground cinnamon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Toasted pine nuts, for garnish

In a large saucepan, brown both sides of the chicken in 1/2 cup canola oil. Once browned, add nutmeg, allspice, cumin powder, salt, saffron, cinnamon sticks, cardamom seeds, and peppercorns.
Add approximately 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add freshly ground pepper. Cover and cook over low-medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the meat begins to pull away from the bone. Set the chicken and 2 cups of broth aside.

Fry the cauliflower in a large pot with 3 cups of canola oil until golden brown. Remove and let drain on paper towels. Drain the eggplant and fry as you did the cauliflower. Set both the fried cauliflower and eggplant aside. Heat 3 tablespoons of canola oil in very large pot. When the oil is hot, not smoking, add the onions and saute them for approximately 10 minutes. Place the chicken pieces on top of the onions and cook together for a few minutes then cover and let sit for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, rinse the rice about 5 or 6 times until the water runs clear. Put the rice in a bowl, add the spices and mix well.

Place the fried eggplant and cauliflower on top of the chicken and then put the rice on top of the vegetables. Add the 2 cups of reserved chicken broth (make sure the whole spices are not in the broth) and water to just barely cover the rice. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cover. When the water has been absorbed, the dish is done, approximately 25 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and let rest for about 10 to 15 minutes. Place a large serving plate on top of the dish and flip the pot and plate over. Carefully lift the pot off the plate and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.

added by Marwa El Odessi

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