As the weather has started to cool down, I find myself turning more to preparing soups and stews for dinner. Particularly Lebanese stews, which are flavorful and hearty, and have always been some of my favorite meals growing up. No matter what the main ingredient is, I can eat the leftovers for a week and not get sick of it. They are that good! If you saw our post on the Lebanese Beef and Potato Stew, you’ll notice that this recipe is very similar. The only difference is that the star of this dish is sweet, golden-fried cauliflower or arnabeet and the broth is much tangier due to the extra lemon juice. I hadn’t made this recipe in a while but when I saw large cauliflower on sale at the local market, I decided it was time for this stew to make a reappearance on our table and an appearance on this blog as I continue to share our favorite family dishes. I hope you enjoy this one as much as we do 🙂
Lebanese Cauliflower Stew
2 large cauliflower heads
1.5 lbs beef stew chunks
8-10 cups water*
2 small bunches cilantro
1 garlic head, peeled
Vegetable oil for frying
Salt and pepper to taste
*I am very liberal when it comes to the amount of water I use in preparing the broth because I end up skimming a lot so naturally it gets reduced and concentrated as time passes.
- Thoroughly wash your cauliflower and cut them into medium-large florets. The smaller you cut them the more they break up in the stew and you definitely want some cauliflower bites.
- In a large stockpot, bring the beef stew chunks and water to a boil and then let simmer, skimming the fat and impurities continuously until the broth is clean. Once the broth is clean, reduce the heat, cover and let simmer until the meat is tender (about 2 hours).
- In a food processor, pulse the cilantro and peeled garlic until you have a rough paste. 1/2 of this will go directly into the clean broth. The other half you will save for step 6.
- In the meantime, prepare a pot for frying and a tray for draining the oil (paper towel works just fine).
- Once the oil is hot, begin frying the cauliflower in batches until they are a beautiful golden brown. Salt them as they come out and let them drain from any excess oil.
- Prepare a pan with a bit of vegetable oil and sauté the other half of the cilantro-garlic paste until fragrant. Do not let them burn. Fish out the beef stew chunks from the broth and toss in the pan with the sautéed cilantro-garlic paste. Once browned, return to the stock pot.
- Transfer your cauliflower into the broth and let simmer for another 30-45 minutes until the cauliflower are tender.
- Season the stew with salt, pepper, and lemon juice to your liking. The broth should have a mellow sweetness from the cauliflower and a vibrant kick from the lemon, garlic, and cilantro combination.
- Serve with a side of basmati rice and fresh crunchy radishes.
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