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Friday, May 20, 2011

Anti-recipe #32 Mideastern lamb and rice scramble

I wish I could come up with a more elegant name for this dish but I really can't.

So I grew up with a father who cooked only in case of great need, (ie Mom was at Bible Study or choir practice) or in the case of duty (ie grilling, pancakes).

This meant he had a limited repertoire. His meals were thus 1) goulash (typical Midwestern dish with macaroni noodles, tomato chunks and ground beef...hmmm actually this sounds good and I haven't had it in years! I need to try to recreate it) and 2) hamburger rice scramble. He would make this last dish by scrambling up hamburger, adding onions and celery and mixing it with cooked rice. We would douse it with ketchup and ask where Mom was in whiney voices. (I have to say I made this the other day and it was, um, really really good.)

My anti-recipe for you today is a Mideastern take on this meal and it is really super yummy.

Start with ground lamb. I have used ground beef but its just not the same. Fry this up in a little olive oil in a really large skillet. Salt it as you cook. Add a little chopped onion to cook too.

Note: you could totally do this vegetarian too. Just add an extra can of garbanzo beans for more protein!

Put one cup of rice on to cook. So, my husband insists that I have the magic touch when it comes to making rice. I don't get how someone who can make a perfect hollandaise sauce (YUM) can't figure out making rice but, that is me. It is simple. For brown rice (if you are in a healthy mood) add one cup of rice and three cups of water to a pot with a lid that fits (hard to find in my kitchen. HA) Bring the water to a boil without the lid on. Once the water is just at a boil turn down to simmer and put on the lid. Don't lift the lid to check (my glass lids are handy for this purpose) it just lets out the steam. If you don't have glass lids you obviously do need to check at some point (in 15-20 minutes) add a little hot water when you do. If you are making regular white rice add two-three cups of water initially and check sooner, it cooks up fast.

Now here is the Mideastern part. You need to season with a ras el hanout seasoning. This is a Mideastern season blend that literally means "top of the shop" in Arabic. Every woman in the Middle East has her own concotion, blending whatever spices she has on hand. A friend of mine gave me a giant bag of her mother's mix when I left Iraq. Being that that was 6 years ago it has long been gone but luckily dada works at a Middle Eastern restaurant where they sell spice blends. YUM. Traditionally it includes cardamom, clove, cinnamon, ground chili peppers, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, peppercorn, and turmeric. Season your cooked rice with this stuff, a good tablespoon of it. You can also add it to the meat as its cooking.
Add your cooked rice to your really large skillet with the cooked lamb and onions.

Add one drained can of garbanzo beans. Let all this simmer for awhile. Then turn off heat.

Add some chopped tomatoes.

Serve with plain yogurt and hummous on the side (or on top like my husband who mixes it all together) and toasted pita (which you can use to scoop up the yummy mixture).


(P.S. My dad has many many fine talents including fixing anything with like a coat hanger and duct tape and the ability to braid squirmy little girls hair ... but he does generally leave the cooking to my mom. LOVE YOU DAD.)


  1. this a spam comment or are you a real person? i might need to start screening these...

  2. This sounds super yummy. There's a recipe I've used a few times that is a delightful variation of this.

    And, I am, at least I'm prettttty sure, a real person.

  3. oh, yum! That does sound good! I need to try that when I'm feeling adventurous. I've been missing our favorite little middle eastern restaurant that was around the corner from us in MI, so maybe this will help.

    And I'm totally spamming you.


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