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.You 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.)
Hushwee 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.
My 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.
What family recipes always bring you back to special times in the kitchen? I’d love to hear from you.
Your fork is waiting.
- 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
- In a deep pan, melt butter over medium high heat then add the minced onion. Sautee until translucent, 4-5 minutes.
- 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.
- Stir in toasted pine nuts before serving and garnish with fresh minced parsley.
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.