Mansaf – Middle Eastern Lamb Dish

Mansaf – Middle Eastern Lamb Dish

mensaf Mansaf, Fatiyeh, or Fatihah this traditional middle eastern lamb stew in yogurt sauce is a big part of Arabic cuisine.  It is a favorite dish for large gatherings including weddings and engagement parties.  In short it plays a large part in Middle Eastern hospitality.

In my experience folks in the Arab world are very hospitable and generous. Rolling out a huge tray of Mansaf is a sign of respect and welcome to anyone visiting an Arab home whether it be in Jordan, Dubai, Europe, or America.

But of course this traditional dish has several names depending on the country or even city one is in.  In most countries like Jordan and Lebanon it’s called Mansaf; it’s the same dish Palestinians from the West Bank call Fatiyeh or Fatihah and those who hail closer to the larger cities call Mensaf.  Whatever it’s called it’s basically the same dish with a few regional additions to the toppings.

So what is Mansaf?  It’s a dish typically made with Lamb that’s simmered in a yogurt sauce made from reconstituted “Chisitch/Kishk/Jameed” (fermented or dried sheeps’ milk yogurt.)  Then the meat and sauce are served on a bed of torn unleavened bread like Shrak or pita and rice.  The whole dish can be topped with fresh parsley and sprinkled with toasted pine nuts; or as I’ve been taught by some of my Palestinian husband’s friends a ring of fried onions and tomatoes.

Really the secret ingredient, or not so secret, is the Chisitch.  Okay it’s not the easiest thing to get your hands on.  I usually get the dried balls of Chisitch from my husband’s relatives who travel to and from the Middle East or my sister-in-law who actually makes it!  I’ve also been able to buy it from a market in Oman during one of my trips there.  But you might be able to find it at a middle eastern market where it’s usually called Kishk or Jameed.  It’s available in liquid or powder form.  Or you can believe it or not order it from Amazon by clicking this affiliate link!   

If all else fails and you simply can not get a hold of Chisitch/Kishk/Jameed then use Buttermilk!  Yes the carton you find in your grocer’s diary section.  Good old fashioned buttermilk, the stuff you can use to make Buttermilk pancakes and biscuits!

If you’re using balls of chisitch from where ever you must reconstitute it – meaning soak the balls in water overnight, then place all of it in your blender until it is liquified.  You might need to add water to the blender to get the liquid you need.

If you’re using powdered kishk or jameed then dissolve it in water.  Obviously the easiest one to use would be liquid jameed or buttermilk.

Whichever one you use the real secret is to keep the jameed or kishk liquid from curdling when you add it to your meat.  To do that you must temper it by slowly stirring the liquid into a little bit of lamb broth.  This brings the temperature of the jameed up to the temperature of the stewed meat.

To season this dish I use my Lebanese 7 Spices Mix Click here for that recipe!

So if you want to try this yummy dish at home scroll down for my recipe.  It’s pretty fussy, it takes me a whole afternoon too make it!  This recipe is for a fairly small tray, you can double or triple it if you need to make a large tray for more people.

By the way Mansaf or Fatihah is traditionally eaten with one’s fingers right off the serving tray.  The polite and proper way to eat this dish is to use your fingers to take bite-sized portions from the tray and pop it in your mouth.  You take portions only from the meat and rice that is directly in front of you; respect other diner’s tray space.  That’s how it’s traditionally eaten; at our house it’s served family style with a serving spoon used to spoon a portion on to each person’s plate and we uses forks and knives.

 

Mansaf
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Mansaf
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Place meat in large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil.
  2. While meat boils fat will come to the surface. Skim off fat and discard. Continue this process until fat stops forming on the surface.
  3. Strain meat and set aside while you thoroughly wash out the pot. Dry pot before proceeding.
  4. Heat 1 Tbs. Olive Oil in pot and add 1 portion of chopped onions. Cook onions until they start to soften.
  5. Add meat and Lebanese 7 Spices Mix and stir well. Cook until onions become translucent.
  6. Add beef broth to cover meat. Bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 2 hours.
  8. Meanwhile you can prepare other parts of the dish.
  9. Heat remaining Olive Oil in frying pan and add remaining chopped onions. Cook until onions start to soften.
  10. Add garlic to pan and cook about 1 minute stirring constantly.
  11. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are soft and juices start to come out. Salt & Pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.
  12. Melt 2 Tbs. Butter in saute pan and toast pine nuts until they start to turn golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
  13. About 30 minutes before stew is cooked prepare rice by first melting remaining butter in pot.
  14. Add Vermecelli and saute until pasta starts to turn golden brown.
  15. Add dry rice and saute another minute.
  16. Stir in about 4 cups of water to cover the rice. Cook covered over low heat for 20 minutes or until rice is cooked. Let rest at least 5 minutes to absorb any remaining water.
  17. Check you meat. It should be tender and falling off the bone.
  18. If meat is cooked turn down heat very low.
  19. Remove about 1 cup of broth from pot to temper your jameed or buttermilk.
  20. Slowly pour liquid jameed or buttermilk into that broth. Stirring only in one direction as you add the jameed. This is tempering the jameed. It is very important that you stir as you combine the liquids and stir only in one direction to keep the jameed from curdling.
  21. Once the jameed is tempered using the same procedure slowly add the tempered jameed into the pot of stew.
  22. Simmer on low heat for about 20 Minutes.
  23. Meanwhile prepare your serving tray. Break up the bread into pieces and place pieces on to the tray.
  24. Cover bread with rice.
  25. Place meat on the rice. Pour yogurt sauce (liquid you cooked meat in) over the meat and rice.
  26. Spoon tomato mixture around the meat.
  27. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve.
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Instant Pot Beef Shawarma

Instant Pot Beef Shawarma

A Beef Shawarma sandwich or plate!  Yum!  It’s one of my favorites.  It’s one of the things I always order when I find myself at a Middle Eastern restaurant anywhere in the world.

Shawarma is sort of like the Greek Gyro or Turkish Doner Kebab; it’s a cone of seasoned meat or meats that’s cooked on a vertical spit.  Typically beef, lamb, and chicken are combined to form the large hunk of meat which is slowly grilled as it turns on its axis on the vertical spit.  Pieces of cooked meat are shaved off and stuffed in a pita with sauces, veggies, and pickles or placed on a plate with a serving of salad, hummus, rice, and pita bread.

I believe Shawarma started out as Middle Eastern street food where the sandwiches can be taken to go and eaten on as you go.  But these days you’ll find mixed meats, beef, and chicken shawarma on fast food and restaurant menus throughout the Middle East and beyond.

We love this tasty dish so much that we make it at home since there really aren’t any good Middle Eastern restaurants where we live.  Recently I’ve started making Beef Shawarma in my Instant Pot!  It’s the easiest and fastest way to make it!

We usually make Beef Shawarma sandwiches but we’ve also made Beef Shawarma plates and bowls.  We also use the leftover meat to top hummus, assuming we havhttp://www.savvynana.com/wp-admin/e leftovers that is!

But really the secret to this Beef Shawarma that tastes like you got it from a Middle Eastern restaurant isn’t in the way it’s cooked, the secret’s in the spice mix that’s rubbed on the meat!  Marinating the meat overnight ensures that the meat is infused with the exotic flavors of the spices.  Cooking it in the Instant Pot just makes the cooking process faster, but you can actually make it in the oven or on a grill if you don’t own this handy dandy electric pressure cooker.

Once you make the Beef Shawarma you can make it into a sandwich and top with your favorite toppings such as hummus, tahini sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles, and I love it with Tzatziki sauce! (I know I’m mixing Arabic and Greek foods, but who cares?  It tastes great!)

To make Instant Pot Beef Shawarma you’ll first need to make some of the Shawarma Spice Mix, so click here for the recipe!  

Then scroll down for the Instant Pot Beef Shawarma recipe!

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Instant Pot Beef Shawarma
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Instant Pot Beef Shawarma
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Ingredients
Beef Shawarma
Sandwich Toppings
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Using a small knife drill 12 holes all over your roast
  2. Stuff a garlic half in each hole
  3. Mix Shawarma Spice Mix with 2 Tbs. ACV and 1 Tbs. Olive Oil
  4. Rub this spice mixture all over the roast then place the meat in a covered dish or ziplock bag and let rest in the fridge for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. I find that overnight works well.
  5. 30 minutes before cooking set the meat on the counter and let the temperature go down to room temperature
  6. Place remaining olive oil in instant pot and set pot to saute
  7. Sear the meat on all sides for about 5-8 minutes per side
  8. Add beef broth and remaining ACV to the pot
  9. Cover making sure the valve is set to sealing
  10. Set pot on Manual and adjust time to 60 minutes
  11. When pot turns off allow pressure to release naturally
  12. When pot is completely depressurized carefully open the lid and remove the meat
  13. Shred the meat and place in a bowl or baking sheet. At this point you can use the meat to make sandwiches, plates, or bowls. Or if you prefer you can crisp the ends by sprinkling a bit of the broth over the meat and popping the pan in the oven to broil on high for 10 minutes or just until the ends turn darker brown. If you are crisping it keep a close eye on the meat as it will burn quickly in the broiler.
  14. Store any leftovers with a bit of broth to keep it from drying out. Reheat in the microwave or in the over, drizzle some of the broth over the meat before reheating.
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Instant Pot Beef Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

Instant Pot Beef Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

Gyros seem to be getting trendy, even the fast food chains are putting them on their menus.  Makes sense I guess since Gyro (pronounced YEE-roh) can be considered fast food meaning you can grab a sandwich and eat it on the go.  Gyro meat can be either beef, pork, chicken, lamb, or a combination of these meats.  The meat is usually ground up and cooked on a vertical spit then thin slices are shaved off as needed to make plates or sandwiches.  Having grown up in New York City gyros have always been a familiar food, I remember seeing the big hunks of meat rotating behind a window at the corner deli or diner.  Anyway trendy or not we love Gyros, specially beef gyros!

We always grab a gyro or two when we’re in Greece and sometimes in NYC, I mean it’s not like we’re going to set up a huge vertical spit and roast meat for hours.  That’s why the  Instant Pot is a great addition to my kitchen!  I can make Beef Gyros anytime I have a yen for them.  The beef gyros made in my Instant Pot tastes pretty authentic and can be made in about half an hour!  Doesn’t beat a trip to Athens or Santorini, but it hits the spot!

The Beef Gyros I make in the Instant Pot are tender, juicy, and tasty; in short perfect!  We slather the pita with homemade Tzatziki, a creamy cucumber yogurt sauce, then fill it with meat and veggies, delicious!

Here’s the recipe for Instant Pot Beef Gyros and Tzatziki Sauce, hope you love it as much as we do!

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The Beef

Ingredients:

2 Lbs. Chuck roast sliced into thin strips about 1/4″ long – cut meat against the grain

1 Large White Onion thinly sliced

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

1 Tbs. Garlic Powder

1 Tbs. Oregano

1 Tsp. Sea Salt

1 Tsp. Black Pepper

1/4 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice

1/2 Cup Beef Broth

Shredded Iceberg or Romaine Lettuce

Sliced Tomatoes

Sliced Purple Onion

Sliced Cucumbers

1 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar

Fresh Pita Bread or Naan

Directions:

Place all the ingredients except the Pita, Lettuce, and Tomato in the Instant Pot

Cover and make sure the valve is in the “Sealing” position

Turn pot on to Manual – high pressure

Set timer to 30 minutes

Once timer goes off allow the pot to sit for 15 minutes.  Then switch the valve to “venting” and allow the pot to depressurize.

Remove cover and stir.

While you’re waiting for the meet to cook make your Tzatziki Sauce and prepare your veggies

Place shredded lettuce, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions on a dish and sprikle with Apple Cider Vinegar then set aside until ready to use

Tzatziki Sauce

Ingredients:

1 Cup Finely chopped cucumbers – remove seeds before chopping

1 Cup plain whole milk yogurt

2 Tbs Fresh Dill chopped

1 Tsp Garlic finely minced

1/4  Tsp Salt

Directions:

Take the cucumbers and squeeze out the liquid.  Squeeze out as much liquid as you can.

Place cucumber in bowl and add in rest of the ingredients and mix very well.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

Sandwich assembly:

Cover pita bread with a damp paper towel and warm in the microwave for about 15-30 seconds

Place one pita bread flat on a piece of aluminum foil

Spread bread with Tzatziki Sauce

Place a layer of shredded lettuce over sauce

Remove desired amount of meat from pot and drain liquid then place over lettuce

Add cucumber, onion, and tomato slices on top then add more tzatziki sauce if desired

Roll sandwich and foil, use the foil to hold the sandwich together.  Peel off foil as you eat.

You can also make a plate or bowl instead of a sandwich.  Any left over tzatziki can be used a dip, just place in a dish or bowl and drizzle with olive oil.  Dip pita chips in the sauce for a great snack or appetizer!

 

Instant Pot Beef Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce
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Instant Pot Beef Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce
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Ingredients
Tzatziki Sauce
Servings:
Instructions
Beef
  1. Place all the ingredients except the Pita, Lettuce, and Tomato in the Instant Pot
  2. Cover and make sure the valve is in the "Sealing" position
  3. Turn pot on to Manual - high pressure Set timer to 30 minutes
  4. Once timer goes off allow the pot to sit for 15 minutes. Then switch the valve to "venting" and allow the pot to depressurize.
  5. Remove cover and stir.
  6. While you're waiting for the meet to cook make your Tzatziki Sauce and prepare your veggies
  7. Place shredded lettuce, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions on a dish and sprikle with Apple Cider Vinegar then set aside until ready to use
Tzatziki Sauce
  1. Take the cucumbers and squeeze out the liquid.  Squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
  2. Place cucumber in bowl and add in rest of the ingredients and mix very well.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Assembly
  1. Cover pita bread with a damp paper towel and warm in the microwave for about 15-30 seconds Place one pita bread flat on a piece of aluminum foil Spread bread with Tzatziki Sauce Place a layer of shredded lettuce over sauce Remove desired amount of meat from pot and drain liquid then place over lettuce Add cucumber, onion, and tomato slices on top then add more tzatziki sauce if desired Roll sandwich and foil, use the foil to hold the sandwich together.  Peel off foil as you eat. 
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Homemade Corned Beef Hash

Homemade Corned Beef Hash

Corned Beef Hash is one of our favorite breakfast foods; actually we like it anytime of day.  We usually order it at one of our favorite coffee shops and they all serve the canned version.  Mind you we’re good with that, but have you ever had fresh homemade Corned Beef Hash?  Believe me once you do it’s hard to settle for the canned stuff!

Since St. Patrick’s day was just a couple of days ago I’m sure like me you’re wondering what to do with that left over Corned  Beef & Cabbage you had for dinner last Sunday!  Well wonder not more!  Turn it into Corned Beef Hash and serve it for breakfast or even dinner tonight!  I know I will!

Homemade Corned Beef Hash is a great way to use that leftover brisket.  It’s easy, it’s fast, and it’s very yummy!  So let’s make some hash!

By the way it would be an awesome addition to a Mother’s or Father’s Day Breakfast of Brunch!

Ingredients

Left over Corned Beef Brisket (if you don’t have leftovers then cook a brisket in your crock pot or Instant Pot.  Click here for my Instant Pot Corned Beef & Cabbage recipe)

3 – 4 Yukon Gold Potatoes – Peeled, boiled, diced (If you have leftover potatoes from dinner just dice those)

1 Small Onion finely diced

1 Tbs. Minced Garlic

1/2 Tsp. Paprika

1/4 Cup beef broth

Oil for Frying

Directions

Prepare your brisket and potatoes

Heat oil in frying pan

Saute onions until they start to turn translucent

Add garlic and saute until they start to turn brown

Add diced corned beef and potatoes

Sprinkle with paprika and mix well

Spread corned beef mixture evenly in frying pan and smush down with back of your spatula

Pour beef broth over all

Turn down heat and simmer until liquid is mostly gone

Flip corned beef over and smush down again with back of spatula

Cook another 5 minutes or until dry

Serve with hash brown potatoes and fried eggs.

 

 

Homemade Corned Beef Hash
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Homemade Corned Beef Hash
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Prepare brisket and potatoes
  2. Heat oil in frying pan
  3. Saute onions until they turn translucent
  4. Add garlic and saute until garlic starts to brown
  5. Add diced corned beef and potatoes
  6. Sprinkle with paprika and mix well
  7. Spread corned beef mixture evenly in pan and smush down with back of spatula
  8. Pour broth over all and reduce heat
  9. Cook until liquid is almost gone
  10. Flip corned beef over and smush down again with back of spatula
  11. Cook another 5 minutes or until all liquid is gone
  12. Serve with hash brown potatoes and fried eggs.
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Instant Pot Beef Stew

Instant Pot Beef Stew

Instant Pot Beef StewLast Christmas one of my daughters gifted me an Instant Pot Lux80.  (There it is in the box.) I have to admit it looked intimidating; took me almost a month before I took it out of the box, and only after watching videos and reading lots of internet articles.  Now what exactly is an Instant Pot you may ask.  The best answer would be that it’s a crockpot on steroids.  It can do just about everything a crockpot does but it does it faster.  That’s why it takes only 35 minutes to make Instant Pot Beef Stew!

35 minutes to make tender falling apart beef stew!  Yes I kid you not the actual cooking time for Instant Pot Beef Stew is 35 minutes!  And yes the meat, you can use even the least expensive cuts, are literally falling apart!  Ok, the actual time I spent making Instant Pot Beef Stew was closer to an hour, that included chopping, browning, AND cooking and venting.  So really dinner was ready in about an hour.  Sure beats cooking stew in your crockpot all day!

Can you tell yet what I first made in my handy dandy new gadget?  Yup, you got it I made Instant Pot Beef Stew!  And the best part is it doesn’t take a lot of planning.

When I made beef stew in my old crockpot I had to thaw out the beef the night before then get up early to chop veggies and brown the beef on the stove top.  I had to do all that before I could toss it all in the crockpot and press cook.  Now it wasn’t that big a deal, that is until I realized what my new Instant Pot could do!  I didn’t have to thaw meat the night before, I could actually toss semi-frozen meat in the pot if I wanted to!

instant pot beef stew

Did I mention that my Instant Pot Beef Stew turned out amazing?  My family raved about it!  In fact I had made a big pot – the model I have is 8 quarts – and we had the left overs for dinner the next day!  So without further ado here’s my recipe!  Hope you love it as much as we do!

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Ingredients:

3 Lbs. Beef Cut into 1″ cubes – you can use any cut of beef you want, I usually use a chuck roast

2 Tbs.  Olive Oil

1 Tbs. Italian Seasoning

1/4 Cup Worcestershire Sauce

2 Tbs. Minced Garlic

1 Large Onion Cut in large pieces

2 Cups Baby Carrots

2 Cups Baby Potato Medley

2 Cups Celery Cut in large pieces

3 Cups Beef Broth

1 Cup Tomato Sauce

Salt & Pepper to taste

1/4 Cup Corn Starch

1/4 Cup water

Directions:

instant pot beef stewPrep ingredients – Cut all the meat & veggies to size

Separate Beef from the veggies as you will be using it first and you don’t want the veggies sitting in raw beef juices

Add olive oil to Instant Pot and set on Sauté

When pot is hot enough place cubed beef into pot

 

Instant pot beef stewBrown all the sides of the beef

Add Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic, worcestershire sauce, and mix well

Switch pot off and add veggies, beef broth, and tomato sauce

Stir well making sure to scrape off any meat or seasoning at the bottom of the pot

Set Instant Pot on Manual and adjust time to 35 minutes

Secure lid making sure the valve is on the sealing position

When pot beeps wait 10 minutes then set the valve to venting to release remaining pressure

Meanwhile dissolve cornstarch in water

When pressure has been completely released remove pot lid

Stir in cornstarch water to get desired thickness.  If you want thicker sauce add more dissolved cornstarch slowly until you get the thickness you want.

Serve with steamed rice or some nice crusty bread to sop up all that meaty goodness!

Left overs can be stored in the fridge for a day or so, stew always tastes better the next day!  Or for longer storage place stew in freezer safe containers, label with date, and freeze until needed.  It will keep in the freezer for about 2-3 months.  Reheat in the microwave or stove top.

 

 

 

 

instant pot beef stew
Instant Pot Beef Stew
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instant pot beef stew
Instant Pot Beef Stew
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Prep ingredients - Cut all the meat & veggies to size Separate Beef from the veggies as you will be using it first and you don't want the veggies sitting in raw beef juices
    instant pot beef stew
  2. Add olive oil to Instant Pot and set on Sauté When pot is hot enough place cubed beef into pot Brown all the sides of the beef  Add Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic, worcestershire sauce, and mix well
    Instant pot beef stew
  3. Switch pot off and add veggies, beef broth, and tomato sauce Stir well making sure to scrape off any meat or seasoning at the bottom of the pot Set Instant Pot on Manual and adjust time to 35 minutes Secure lid making sure the valve is on the sealing position
  4. When pot beeps wait 10 minutes then set the valve to venting to release remaining pressure Meanwhile dissolve cornstarch in water When pressure has been completely released remove pot lid Stir in cornstarch water to get desired thickness.  If you want thicker sauce add more dissolved cornstarch slowly until you get the thickness you want.   Serve with steamed rice or some nice crusty bread to sop up all that meaty goodness!
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