It sure is peak summer time now in the Northern Hemisphere and perhaps not an ideal time for hot dishes.. at least not in mom’s dictionary. In summer she tends to shift a bit more towards grilling, seafood, vegetarian and dairy-based dishes that don’t make you sweat like crazy when you enjoy them in a 90F degrees weather. However, when it comes to traditional Lebanese stews which we call “Tabekh” (literally translated into “cooking”) I personally can’t say no even if I’m having it in a sauna.
Today we’re featuring a Potato and Beef Stew which can be called “Yakhnet Batata”… I guess… “Yakhneh” is a typical word used for stews, in general, and “Batata” is potato. And the reason I said “I guess” is because the name varies depending on whom you ask. Some folks call it simply “Batata ma Lahme w Riz” which simply translates to Potatoes with Meat and Rice…
Like many stews, our Potato and Beef Stew goes well with a side of rice. We got a bit creative here and added some lentils while cooking the rice. And if you want a real typical Lebanese rice side dish, you would need to add vermicelli which should be broken into smaller pieces (about 1-2 inch long) and fried with butter in your rice cooking pot. As soon as they turn brown you would add the water, rice, salt and cook as you would any rice.
- 1.5 lbs of Beef Stew Meat, cubed
- 3lbs Potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 head of fresh garlic, crushed or minced
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 2.5 table spoons of ghee or butter
- 2-3 teaspoons of tomato paste
- 1 cup of coriander leaves finely chopped (preferably green)
- 1.5 teaspoon of salt
- a dash of Lebanese 7-Spices (or allspice)
- Warm Water
- A side of rice
- In a deep cooking pot, saute/fry the meat in the ghee/butter on medium heat with a bit of salt for about 8-10 minutes or until medium-well cooked.
- Add the garlic, onions, coriander leaves, 7-spices and the remaining salt to the beef and saute well together for another 3-4 minutes.
- Add about 6-7 cups of warm water (watch out for the steam), bring to a boil, cover and let simmer/cook on low heat for 2 to 2.5 hours.
- Meanwhile, bake the cubed potatoes in the oven for about 30 minutes at 370 degrees, then add them to the simmering meat half-way through its cooking time.
- During the last 30 minutes of cooking, add the tomato paste, stir well, then let simmer for the remaining time.
- Serve hot with a side of rice.