This was my post for the March 2023 event of our #EattheWorld project, being spearheaded by Evelyne of CulturEatz. Here's her challenge. This month she had us heading, by tabletop, to Lebanon. But I was sidetracked and didn't get my post finalized in time. Better late than never, right? It's still March...
Even though I missed the party, here are the other offerings. They look delicious...
Culinary Cam: Some Lebanese Favorites: Lamb Ummo, Lubyee Bi Lahmi, and Mujadara (you're here)
Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Ka’ak (Lebanese Purse Bread)
Pandemonium Noshery: Halawet el Jibn - Lebanese Semolina Cheese Dessert
Sneha’s Recipe: Eggless Layali Lubnan
Cultureatz: Lebanese Shish Tawook
A Day in the Life on the Farm: Instant Pot Beef Shwarma
Magical Ingredients: Malfouf Salad
Lubyee Bi Lahmi
I don't think I ever would have predicted that Lebanese food would be a family favorite. In high school, one of my teachers was from Lebanon, but I don't remember ever seeing anything he ate. But I started making Lubyee Bi Lahmi because it was a childhood favorite of Jake's.
Years ago, I told the story to our boys: "This dish was one of your Daddy's favorites when he was little. And when Daddy and I were getting married, Aunt Jenn had a party for me...called a 'bridal shower.' She asked guests to give me copies of their favorite recipes. And because Grandma knew that Daddy loved this dish, she wrote out the recipe and sent it to me." I have made some adaptations based on what I have, so it changes. But this is what I made this time!
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 pound lamb, cubed
2 cups mushrooms
1 cup fresh tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup water
1 cup organic beef stock
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh mint, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1" lengths
salt and pepper to taste
In a large, flat-bottom pan, heat the olive oil and cook the onions until softened and beginning to caramelize. Add in the lamb and cook until fully browned. Stir in the herbs and cinnamon.
Pour in the tomato sauce, wine, water, and stock. Bring to a boil, then cover, and simmer for 75 minutes to let the flavors fully meld.
Add the mushrooms and green beans to the pot. Cook until the beans are just beginning to soften. You don't want them mushy! It should take approximately 6 or 7 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Lamb in yogurt sauce? I can't believe it's taken me this long to hear about this dish. Now that I have, we will be having this more often.
1 pound lamb, cubed
1 onion, peeled and thickly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods
2 to 3 allspice berries
1 Tablespoon sea salt
4 1/2 cups plain yogurt (prefer whole milk for texture)
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped
1 teaspoon oregano
Place the lamb in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Skim any foam from the surface, then stir in onions, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom, allspice, and salt. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and braise for 90 minutes to 2 hours, until the meat is very tender. Remove the meat and bring the liquid to a rolling boil. Reduce the liquid until you have between 1 and 2 cups of liquid left.
Fold the lamb back into the pot. Whisk in the yogurt and lemon juice. Simmer, stirring constantly, for 10 to 15 minutes until the sauce thickens. Stir in the herbs and season to taste with salt and pepper as needed.
While you can certainly serve the lamb dishes with plain rice, I opted to make a lentil-rice dish that we love.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon organic coconut sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup brown lentils
1 cup organic brown basmati rice
1 teaspoon ground sea salt
chopped fresh parsley
lemon wedges for serving
olive oil for serving
Heat oil in a large, flat-bottom pan. Add the onions, fennel, coconut sugar, and cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are deeply caramelized, approximately 45 to 60 minutes. Do not rush this step.
Sort through the lentils. Add water to cover the lentils completely by at least an inch. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender but still retaining their shape. Drain the lentils and set aside.
When the onions are cooked, stir in the rice. Add the lentils, 2 cup water, and salt. Stir to combine. Decrease the heat to keep the liquid at a slow simmer. Cover and cook for approximately 20 minutes. Remove the lid and stir. If there is still liquid, cover again and cook till no liquid remains. When the rice is tender, it's done!
Stir chopped parsley into the dish. Spoon into individual bowls. Garnish with more parsley. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and a drizzle of olive oil.
That's a wrap on my woefully tardy #EattheWorld offering. We'll be headed to Democratic Republic of the Congo in April. Stay tuned!