Druse Cuisine | Rice Mansaf
Serves 8 For the lamb
1 lb (½ kg) shoulder of lamb, deboned and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced
8 cups water
1 teaspoon nutmeg 3 cardamom pods, crushed 1 cinnamon stick
5 allspice pods
2 bay leaves
For the rice
3 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup pine nuts
3 cups rice (long grain) 1 teaspoon freshly ground
1 teaspoon freshly ground
This is a specialty found in Druze cuisine that is known to be extremely healthy and easily digestible – a celebratory rice stew with lamb, pine nuts and many spices, which the Druse serve at weddings and special occasions. The secret lies in the slow and long cooking of the scented lamb and the flavors that are absorbed into the rice.
To prepare the lamb: Heat oil in a large. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes until golden. Add the meat and sear 3 minutes on all sides. Add the water and spices and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and cook 2 to 2 ½ hours or until the meat is very soft. Drain. Keep the meat and the liquid in separate dishes.
To prepare the stew: In a wide and low pot, heat the olive oil. Add the pine nuts. Cook on low heat 2 to 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, take out 1 tablespoon of the pine nuts for garnish.
Add the spices, the cooked meat and the rice to the pot, but do not stir. Pour in enough of the lamb’s cooking liquid to cover the rice.
Place a damp kitchen towel over the pot and then the lid. Cook 7 minutes on medium heat. Turn the heat off and let the rice “rest” covered 15 to 20 minutes. During that time, the riche continues to cook, so don’t try to peek. Leave the lid and the towel on for the duration
Before serving: Turn the pot upside-down on a large round serving platter and carefully remove the pot. Sprinkle with the reserved pine nuts.
Line the serving platter with a large Druse pita and turn the mansaf on it. You may also sprinkle sumac and chopped parsley on the mansaf.