My husband is part Lebanese and grew up with the food of his Middle Eastern relatives. He has fond memories of his Sito (great-grandmother) making food for them on Sundays after church. She didn’t speak a word of english but food is love and that message crossed the language barrier.
My mother-in-law taught me to make these dishes when we were married. These tried and true “recipes” are served for holidays and special occasions. It is the food of my children’s childhood and of their father’s.
Today is a cold, dismal day and I just happened to pick up some lamb for stew yesterday. Loubieh b’Lahem is what’s on the menu – Lamb and Bean Stew. This is how it was concocted today.
I browned about 2 pounds of lamb neck bones and stew meat in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. You want some bones in this to impart great flavor. I chopped an onion and threw it in along with a can of stewed tomatoes and a pint jar of my canned tomatoes (yes, you have to use the stewed ones). Salt and pepper were added along with a scant 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Cover and let simmer for about 3 hours or until the lamb is falling off of the bones.
At this point I always remove the meat from the bones and return it to the stew, made with love don’t you know. Add about a pound or so of fresh or frozen green beans and cook until the beans are tender.
I made some rice pilaf to serve this over and it was amazing. Probably because I haven’t made it in such a long time or possibly because it’s the perfect meal for a cold, wet day.