Lebanese Hushwee – Ground Beef with Cinnamon and Toasted Pine Nuts

A staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, hushwee is a humble, flavor-packed dish made of ground meat cooked in clarified butter then seasoned with cinnamon and toasted pine nuts. It is naturally gluten free and paleo.Lebanese Hushwee - Ground Beef with Cinnamon and Toasted Pine Nuts - The Lemon BowlYou know how certain people have their specialties in every family? Well in our family, my Aunt Paula is famous for hushwee. No matter how hard I try, mine never quite tastes like hers and ironically, she always thinks hers is missing something too. (Trust me, hers is perfect. Every. Single. Time.)

Lebanese Sfeehas - Meat Pies - The Lemon BowlHushwee is a simple, modest recipe made with ground meat, cinnamon and toasted pine nuts. It is the foundation of many classic Lebanese dishes such as Stuffed Eggplant or my husband’s favorite, Sfeehas (Lebanese Meat Pies). At Christmas, we love eating it on top of mashed potatoes with a drizzle of homemade gravy. It also tastes great served over hummus and eaten with pita bread.

Pine Nut Toasting PSA: I have been toasting pine nuts since I was tall enough to reach the stove and let me tell you, they are very easy to burn! While I LOVE the way they taste when browned in clarified butter, it requires the type of constant attention that I can’t offer now that I have two little ones around me all the time.

Creamy Basil Pesto Hummus Bite - The Lemon BowlMy solution? Bake pine nuts 350 degrees on a baking sheet for 5-7 minutes. Use your nose – the pine nuts are done the minute you smell that intoxicating, nutty flavor. The end result is a batch of evenly toasted, golden brown pine nuts. 

Your hummus will thank me.

Hushwee - The Lemon BowlWhat family recipes always bring you back to special times in the kitchen? I’d love to hear from you.

Your fork is waiting.

Lebanese Hushwee - Meat with Cinnamon and Toasted Pine Nuts
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4
  • Serving size: ½ cup
  • Calories: 369
  • Fat: 24.9 g
  • Saturated fat: 9.5 g
  • Unsaturated fat: 15.4 g
  • Trans fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 7.2 g
  • Sugar: 1.9 g
  • Sodium: 949 mg
  • Fiber: 1.8 g
  • Protein: 30.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 106 mg
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
A staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, hushwee is a humble, flavor-packed dish made of ground meat cooked in clarified butter then seasoned with cinnamon and toasted pine nuts. It is naturally gluten free and paleo.
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon clarified butter (ghee)
  • 1 medium onion - minced (my Aunt Paula uses frozen diced onions to save time)
  • 20 ounces ground sirloin (lamb or bison work well too)
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts (See Notes)
  • fresh minced parsley - garnish
Instructions
  1. In a deep pan, melt butter over medium high heat then add the minced onion. Sautee until translucent, 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add ground sirloin and all spices (salt through cloves). Cook 8-10 minutes or until meat is browned, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to break up meat.
  3. Stir in toasted pine nuts before serving and garnish with fresh minced parsley.
Notes
To toast pine nuts simply spread in an even layer on a baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.

If you don't wish to make your own clarified butter (also known as "ghee"), you can find it online or in most health stores.

Pine nuts can be quite pricey so I always recommend buying them at Costco (the Kirkland brand) when you can for the best deal. Store in the freezer to keep them fresher, longer.

 

Comments

  1. says

    This looks wonderful Liz, how original! I would love to give this a try! Toasted pine nuts are looovveellly! Thanks for the recipe :) Excited to try it!

    • says

      The biggest difference is the amount of clarified butter we use. ;-) Let’s just say she isn’t watching her waistline like I am these days – haha. Also she uses frozen onions which I swear make a difference but I never have them around (can’t find them!)

  2. says

    For me, that meal is my mom’s mac and cheese…but I could totally see this being a CRAZY COMFORT FOOD. I love cinnamon in savory places.

  3. says

    Liz,
    We’re getting one step closer to the ground meat and rice dish I’d get, along with some chicken shawarma and hummus, at the Lebanese butcher down the road from my son’s wheelchair basketball practice gym. It’s on the list of foods I crave since we moved to Ohio.
    I’ve got plenty of ground beef in the freezer (and leeks in the freezer too, wonder if they would sub for frozen onions) as well as a few more weekly trips to sled hockey (7 minutes away from the closest Costco, which is down in Cincinnati). This is on the list. Thanks!

  4. Sue Bunton says

    My mom was pretty much a plain Jane when it came to cooking but was a wonderful baker. My favorite cookie of hers was the Brown Christmas cookie. It is a cutout ginger/molasses cookie. It was “brown” and made at Christmas time….thus the name!! I think my mom got the recipe from these little holiday cookbooks that the Michigan Consolidated Gas Company published WAY back in the day (like the ’50s and ’60s). I was the “froster” and even when I had moved out of the house and had a “big girl” job, I took a day off of work in December to perform my frosting job!! I miss those days!! I am making your hushwee recipe tonight and am thankful for the Beirut Baking in Redford, MI for scooping out some ghee from their giant can in the kitchen and putting it in a little container for me :) Serving it on hummus with pita bread and fattoush salad!!

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