A staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, hashweh (or hushwee) is a humble, flavor-packed dish made of ground meat cooked in clarified butter, browned rice then seasoned with cinnamon and toasted pine nuts. It is naturally gluten-free and paleo.
Do you know how certain people have their specialties in every family? Well in our family, my Aunt Paula is famous for hashweh. 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.)
Hashweh (or 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.
Lebanese Hashweh - Ground Beef with Rice and Pine Nuts
Preparing the meat:
- 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. Cook 8-10 minutes or until meat is browned, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to break up meat. Set aside to prepare the rice.
Toasting the Pine Nuts:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a small cookie sheet place raw pine nuts and cook for 5-7 minutes or until they are at a light brown in color. Keep a careful eye on them as they can burn quickly.
Preparing the rice:
- Melt clarified butter in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add vermicelli noodles and toast until deep brown.
- Stir in rinsed rice and cook for 1-2 minutes to lightly toast the rice. Add reserved hushwee to the pan and stir to combine.
- Add chicken broth, salt and pepper to the pot and stir once. Bring to a boil then cover with a lid and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes, leaving the lid on the entire time.
- Fluff rice and meat with a fork then serve with additional toasted pine nuts and fresh parsley.