How To Make Lebanese Kabsa, a Meat and Rice Dish

Lebanese Kabsa

Kabsa (or kabsi) is a common Lebanon dish served on a big tray, usually presented when guests come over but can also be enjoyed by the family.

This recipe can seem complicated, but if you are prepared it can be simply assembled. This recipe is basically meat (lamb, beef or chicken), bone broth, rice, and toasted nuts (almond, walnut and/or pistachio). Served with either “salsa” (made with tomato, peppers, and carrots), cabbage salad, simple salad or yogurt; the point is to have a sour flavor along with the sweet (if using raisins) and savory flavor.

Ingredients for Meat:

  • 1 Tbs. grass-fed butter, ghee, or grass-fed tallow or lamb fat
  • 2 big cloves of garlic, mashed
  • 1 ½ lb boneless lamb, chicken or beef, cut into big chunks
  • 8 Cups homemade bone broth

Ingredients for Rice:

  • 1 Tbs. grass-fed butter, ghee, or grass-fed tallow or lamb fat
  • 4 whole cardamom or ¼ tsp. ground
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. unrefined salt (or to taste depending on how salty the broth is)
  • 2 Cups basmati or jasmine rice
  • ¼ C golden or black raisins or pitted dates (chopped)

Ingredients for Nuts:

You can either use raw nuts or homemade crispy nuts; made by soaking raw nuts in salt water for about 7 hours, straining and drying in a low set oven or dehydrator.

  • 1 Tbs. grass-fed butter or ghee
  • ¾ C nuts; almond haves or slivers, shelled pistachio and/or broken walnut pieces

Instructions for the Meat:

  1. Melt cooking fat (grass-fed butter, ghee, or grass-fed tallow or lamb fat) and sauté mashed garlic in it.
  2. Once fragrant, about 1 minute, add meat of choice
  3. Cook until there is no longer pink/red.
  4. Drain the fat as best as you can and discard it.
  5. Put the meat and the broth into a pot and bring to a boil, then simmer for about 1-2 hours or until the meat falls apart with a fork.
  6. Keep the meat in the broth until ready to use.

 Instructions for the Rice:

  1. Wash the rice well until the water runs clear, and then strain well.
  2. Melt the cooking fat on low and stir in the cardamom and sauté for about 1 minute.
  3. Add the cinnamon and salt, stir quickly and add the rice.
  4. Turn the heat to med-high and keep stirring the rice until it dries, about 3 minutes.
  5. Next, mix in the raisins.
  6. Then add 4 Cups of broth; take from the broth that the meat is boiling in.
  7. Bring to a boil and make sure all the rice in pushed down in the water.
  8. Then turn down to the lowest setting , cover and leave for 15 minutes.
  9. After 15 minutes, turn off the heat and leave it covered until needed.

Instructions for the Nuts:

  1. Melt the butter or ghee on med-low heat or low depending on your pan.
  2. Add the nuts and sauté until the almonds are turning golden brown.
  3. Scoop with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel to cool off and drain.

To Assemble:

Either on a big tray or in an individual serving bowl, first layer the rice, then meat, then scoop broth over the top to moisten, then generously sprinkle nuts on top.  On the side, serve about a half cup or more of broth to sip and some plain yogurt.

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