Most people who have never been to an actual Lebanese home in or outside of Lebanon, think that Lebanese food is about mezze and meat/poultry skewers. That’s because what most restaurants in and outside of Lebanon propose on their menus. But Lebanese food is much more than that and one of the main pillars of our cuisine is stew served with a side of rice, or what we call “yakhne” in Lebanon.
Stew is a typical winter dish. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t prepared in summer, but there is something particularly soothing about warming up on a cold winter day with nutritious, consistent food. It is generally prepared with beans, potatoes, cauliflower or a selection of vegetables and is served hot with a side of white rice. I’m sure most of my readers know exactly what I’m talking about, so I will not delve in how stews are generally prepared :). However, I will gladly share my list of favorite stews and how to best enjoy them!
I’m a huge fan of stews. I don’t eat the meat that’s in the mix, but I think it adds great flavor to the overall dish. Aside from their highly nutritious composition, stews are extremely delicious if well prepared and in my case, served with the juice of at least one freshly squeezed lemon. I absolutely love white and red bean stews, as well as spinach, molokhia, peas and cauliflower stews. I think their taste is heavenly, especially that my mom adds coriander to the mix – which gives the recipe a real kick and takes the dish to a whole new level.
So yes, I add enough lemon to get heartburn at the end of my meal and I like to enjoy stews with two main ingredients; fresh radish and black olives. Radish adds hints of bitterness and olives add tones of earthiness – both of which go perfectly well with the sweetness and acidity of the stew. I invite you to try that mix and let me know what you think. As for the lemon I suggest to add just a little bit if you’re not a fan, because it will add an interesting dimension of flavors to your taste buds :).