This is an authentic Lebanese recipe that will hit the spot if you're in the mood for something stew-y and warm. This stew can be eaten on its own or in true Lebanese style, with pita bread. This recipe calls for allspice and cinnamon, which adds a nice subtle spicy taste.
Beware of the imitation allspice that is sold in some grocery stores. The real stuff is a dried unripe fruit from the Pimenta dioica tree native to Mexico and Central America, and not a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
The name allspice was coined in the 17th century because the taste resembled the combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
This recipe yields 4-6 large servings.
Lebanese Beef and Potato Stew
- 1 large onion, diced
- 0.5kg ground beef
- 5 small potatoes, peeled and cut in quarters
- 4 Chinese eggplants, peeled and cut in quarters
- 2 hot house tomatoes, chopped
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut in 2 inch pieces
- 1/3 cup of basmati rice
- 3 Tbsp of tomato paste
- 4 cups of water
- 1/8 - 1/4 tsp all spice (depends on your taste)
- 2 large pinches of cinnamon
- salt + pepper to taste
- extra virgin olive oil
1. Sprinkle the eggplant with salt and let it sit until it starts to release water. Approx 5-15 minutes. Pat the eggplant dry with a paper towel. This gets rid of the bitter taste in the eggplant. In an oiled pan, pan fry the eggplant until soft.
2. In an oiled casserole pot, saute the onions until translucent (approx 3 minutes). Add the ground beef and saute until the beef is 3/4 of the way cooked. Add the potatoes and carrots and saute for another 3-5 minutes to blend the flavors.
3. Add water, tomato paste, all spice, cinnamon, salt and pepper and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the rice stir well and then lay the eggplant softly into the stew. Simmer for another 25 minutes. Once the eggplant is added, do not stir the pot too much as it will break the eggplant.
4. If you find the stew is not watery enough, add more water. Season with more salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot with bread or rice.