Lahma Bi Khal
Cooking Lahma Bi Khal, this Lebanese Lamb Stew with Aubergines, Mint and Vinegar recipe may indeed reveal that “looks” don’t always pair with “taste”. Enjoy!
Serves: 6 to 8
Cooking time: approx. 120 min
You need: a pot, a colander, a large skillet, a sheet pan or grill pan and about 3 bowls
- 1/2 Kg (1 Lb) shallots or baby onions
- 1 Kg (2 Lb) shoulder of lamb – boned
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 8 garlic cloves – uncut
- 1 Tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 Tsp ground allspice
- 1 Tsp sugar
- 3 medium-sized eggplants
- 4 Tbsp vinegar – red or white
- 1 Tbsp dried mint, crushed
- Hot water
- Salt and Pepper
Peel the onions or shallots
- Add water in a pot, bring it to a boil and drop the onions or shallots in the boiling water.
- Poach for 5 minutes.
- The skins are now loose.
- Drain the onions or shallots in a colander.
- Peel the onions or shallots while they are still warm.
- Cut the meat into 8 large pieces and trim off some of the fat, but not all of it.
- Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet.
- Add the meat in the skillet, and saute the meat on all sides.
- Take the meat out of the skillet. The skillet now has a lot of fat in it.
- Add the baby onions or shallots and the whole cloves of garlic to the fat and saute until they are golden.
- Lift them out and set them on the side. Separate the garlic from the onions/shallots
- Pour the fat off the skillet, and return the meat to the skillet.
- Cover the meat with hot water, increase the fire and bring it to a boil.
- Remove the froth / scum.
- Time for the spices: add the garlic, pepper, cinnamon, allspice, and sugar. (Leave salt for the end – see Notes.)
- Turn the fire down to low.
- Put the lid on the skillet and simmer, covered, for about 90 minutes, until the meat is very tender.
- It’d difficult for water to evaporate with the lid on and on a low fire but if it does add some hot water as necessary, to keep the meat covered while it’s simmering.
In the meanwhile…
- Cut the eggplants into 1.5 cm (1/2 inch) rounds.
- Sprinkle them with salt, and leave them on the side for about 30 minutes to bleed. Pat them with a paper towel when they’re ready.
- Brush the eggplant rounds with olive oil and place them on an oiled sheet pan. Alternatively you can use a grill pan.
- Put the sheet pan under the preheated broiler or put the eggplants in a grill pan. Turn them once until they are brown but not cooked through. (They will cook through in the skillet, during the next stage.)
- Add the onions to the meat.
- Add the vinegar and mint.
- Keep simmering, covered, for another 10 minutes.
- Add the eggplants and simmer for a further 20 minutes.
- About 10 minutes before the end taste the sauce and add salt to taste.
Notes on Lebanese Lamb Stew with Aubergines, Mint and Vinegar
- You can serve it plain, or with vermicelli pasta, orzo, rice. etc. (Please avoid serving potatoes as a side dish to this recipe – trust us on this.)
- If you serve it plain, a bit of bread to soak up the juices would also be nice, no? 🙂
- If you have one big eggplant instead of three medium ones, cut the eggplant rounds in half.
- Lamb meat is saltier than beef, so, adding salt to taste towards the end makes some sense. (But you can do whatever you like, of course. 🙂
- You can omit the sugar, if you like; or you can substitute it with a teaspoon of honey. (If you opt for honey, squeezing a few drops of lemon juice on it will help.)
- For the difference between sugar and honey, click here.