This hearty beef stew, a type of yakhni, or popular stew, is served with rice in the Syrian style.
It wouldn’t be the first choice for a dinner party: It is usually eaten in close family settings. If you do happen to find yourself sitting at a table where it is being served, consider it a compliment, because the message is clear: You’re part of the family.
Beef Stew with Green Peas (Bazela bil roz)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound 2 ounces (500 grams) stewing beef, cut into 4-centimeter (1½-inch) pieces
2 large onions (chopped)
2 carrots (cut into pieces)
1 a’atryaat (2 cinnamon sticks; 2 cloves; 3 green cardamom pods; 1 bay leaf)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon paprika
3½ cups (800 milliliters) tomato juice
Salt and pepper
3½ cups (500 grams) frozen peas
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
Heat the oil in a large pot and sear the meat on all sides until golden brown and caramelized. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.
Fry the onion, carrot and a’atryaat for 5 minutes in the same pot. Return the meat to the pot, along with the tomato paste and paprika, and continue to cook for another minute.
Add the tomato juice, 2 cups (500 milliliters) of water, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to low. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, until the meat is tender. Add a bit more water if the cooking liquid evaporates too quickly.
Remove and discard the a’atryaat. Add the peas and the pomegranate molasses, and continue to simmer until the peas are cooked. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
Serve the stew immediately, accompanied by vermicelli rice.
Reprinted with permission from Sumac: Recipes and Stories From Syria
Interlink Books, 2021.
was born in Homs, Syria, and now lives in Amsterdam. Every summer the whole family goes back to Homs to be together and celebrate the season. Good food continues to be an important part of that celebration, and Atassi has remained a lover of Syrian cuisine, which started his great love for cooking. Sumac: Recipes and Stories from Syria
is his first cookbook.