Monday, September 17, 2012

spice your rice series ~ 1: Riz bi Lahme or Rice with Ground Beef

There are lots of things I love about Lebanese food. One of them is how simple some dishes can be. Rice with ground beef may not be a "traditional" Lebanese dish, but it is served in many of the households I grew up with, and it was always the meal of choice at my Teta's house whenever there was a large lunch gathering. Served warm, topped with pine nuts and almonds sauteed in butter, with huge chunks of chicken hiding among the rice, it was always a satisfying meal. Garlic-mint yogurt is always this meal's trusted companion. It is not complete without a bowl of the yogurt sitting on the side, waiting to be drizzled on top.

To make this at your home, here is what you need:

  • 1 cup of white rice
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2.5 cups of chicken broth; I use homemade
  • salt, pepper and cinnamon
  • olive oil

Finely chop the onion, and add it to the olive oil that is heating on a medium high heat. Once the onion begins to soften add the meat, salt, pepper and cinnamon; all to tatste. Brown the meat thoroughly, then add the rice and the broth. Once the broth has come to a boil, lower the heat and simmer the rice until cooked through, around 20 minutes. Adjust seasoning as needed.

To serve, as above, cook the pine nuts and slivered almonds in melted butter until brown. Do this on low heat and keep a close eye on the nuts as they brown quickly. Shred some cooked chicken on top of the rice, add the nuts and serve with the side of yogurt. Enjoy!

cook's note: if you want to change it up a little, you can add 3/4 cup frozen peas to the rice while its cooking; that way you get your protein, veggies, and carbs in one dish. With the diary in the yogurt you have one completely balanced meal.

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