If there is ONE recipe that makes it to many of my dinner parties, Ramadan Iftars, and our weeknight dinners (other than rice!), it would have to be this Kebab in a pot recipe.
This dish brings out amazing flavors in an otherwise unexciting cut of meat, coaxing melt-in-your-mouth, caramelized, tender morsels of beef that can be served with just rice or as an accompaniment to any of our favorite Egyptian veggie stews or stuffed things (grape leaves, cabbage, zucchini, peppers, potatoes, eggplants...all the things!).
One of the things I love the most about this is that it constantly forgives me. For using a tougher piece of beef, for forgetting it on the stove, for adding too much water, for letting the water completely evaporate, for not paying any attention -- it is the most forgiving recipe that can (almost) always be salvaged. The ingredients are simple, nothing exotic. Just needs a little time to get all those flavors to marry :)
The best time to make this is on a day when you are around the house and can check it every 10 minutes or so, and can let it simmer quietly for a couple of hours. Working from home? PERFECT!
It tastes incredible the next day and day after, which is what makes it perfect for parties. The leftovers can be re-purposed in so many ways -- check the variations below.
Bel hana wel shefa (Arabic: enjoy it with happiness and good health)! —Hajar D.
- Prep time 15 minutes
- Cook time 1 hour 30 minutes
- Serves 6
Lean stew beef, such as London Broil (I strongly prefer to my own and cut it, instead of buying pre-cut stew meat)
large onions, chopped
ground black pepper
cardamom pods, smashed OR
1/2 -1 teaspoons
cinnamon stick (optional)
olive oil (optional)
garlic cloves, crushed (optional)
- Begin by trimming the beef (if not already cut) of fat and cutting it into ~ 1-inch cubes (you can make them larger or smaller based on your preference).
- Heat a wide pan (recommend a Dutch Oven, wide stainless steel saute pan with sides, or a ceramic pan with sides) over medium high heat (add oil, if using).
- Add all of the beef and onions to the pan, stirring frequently as the juices are released. Keep stirring until the meat is no longer red.
- Add salt, pepper and cover (there will be juices in the pan). Turn the heat down to medium low.
- Continue cyclically checking on the beef every 10 minutes or so.
- Each time you uncover it, give it a stir and check the water level. At some point, most of the water will be gone, and the beef/onions will start to caramelize. When you see this, stir a few times to get everything evenly browned.
- Once you've reached caramelized beef, add the allspice, cardamom, bay leaf, and optional spices (if using). Add 0.5 cups of water and stir well. Cover and simmer until most of the water is gone.
- When most of the water is evaporated, add water 1/4-1/2 cup at a time, stir, cover and simmer again. Keep adding water and allowing it to almost completely reduce until the beef is tender and can be cut easily with a fork.
- Adjust salt and pepper to taste when the beef is done -- at this point you don't want the sauce to reduce any further. You should end up with tender, moist pieces of beef in a sauce of caramelized onions.
- Serve warm and enjoy.
- Suggestions/Variations: - Add 2 T of pomegranate molasses on your last reduction for a sweet/tart twist. - Serve over a bed of hummus and enjoy with pita bread. - Serve over a bed of mashed potatoes for the *ultimate* comfort food.