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Lebanese Lamb Stew with Aubergines, Mint and Vinegar

Lahma Bi Khal

Cuisine: Lebanese
Region: Common

Cooking this Lebanese Lamb Stew with Aubergines, Mint and Vinegar (Lahma Bi Khal) recipe may indeed reveal that there’s more to the palate than meets the eye. πŸ™‚ 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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Peel the onions or shallots.
  2. Add water in a pot, bring it to a boil and drop the onions or shallots in the boiling water.
  3. Poach the shallots for 5 minutes.
  4. The skins are now loose.
  5. Drain the onions or shallots in a colander.
  6. Peel the onions or shallots while they are still warm.

Then

  1. Cut the meat into 8 large pieces and trim off some of the fat, but not all of it.
  2. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet.
  3. Add the meat in the skillet, and saute the meat on all sides.
  4. Take the meat out of the skillet. The skillet now has a lot of animal fat in it.
  5. Add the baby onions or shallots and the whole cloves of garlic to the fat and saute until they are golden.
  6. Lift them out, set them on the side and separate the garlic from the onions/shallots.
  7. Pour the fat off the skillet, and return the meat to the skillet.
  8. Cover the meat with hot water, increase the fire and bring it to a boil.
  9. Remove the froth / scum.
  10. Time for the spices: add the garlic, pepper, cinnamon, allspice, and sugar. (Leave salt for the end – see Notes.)
  11. Turn the fire down to low.
  12. Put the lid on the skillet and simmer, covered, for about 90 minutes, until the meat is very tender.
  13. Keep an eye on it. If you see the hot water evaporating by much add some hot water as necessary, to keep the meat covered while it’s simmering.

In the meantime, while the meat is cooking…

  1. Cut the eggplants into 1.5 cm (1/2 inch) rounds.
  2. 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.
  3. Brush the eggplant rounds with olive oil and place them on an oiled sheet pan. Alternatively you can use a grill pan.
  4. Put the sheet pan under the preheated broiler or put the eggplants in a grill pan.
  5. Turn them once until they are brown but not cooked through. (They will cook through in the skillet, during the next stage.)

Finally…

  1. Add the onions to the meat.
  2. Add the vinegar and mint.
  3. Keep simmering, covered, for another 10 minutes.
  4. Add the eggplants and simmer for a further 20 minutes.
  5. 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 be a nice thing to do, no? πŸ™‚
  • 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, when you can taste the broth, makes some sense. (But you can do whatever you like, of course. πŸ™‚
  • 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 in it will help.)
  • For the difference between sugar and honey, click here.

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