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Lebanese/Syrian Bazella

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“After having lived in Syria for the past year for school, I learned how to make several authentic dishes. They will probably taste different outside the Middle East due to the availability of items seasonally and brands of ingredients used. This dish is a blend of carrots, peas and meat in a tomato-based broth that is served with Middle Eastern-style rice. Arabs are used to having family over--it's a family based culture--so it's meant to be shared.”
READY IN:
2hrs 30mins
SERVES:
6
YIELD:
8 cups
UNITS:
US

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1 (16 ounce) bag frozen peas, any brand. Can also use good quality dry peas as well
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 (16 ounce) bag carrots, whole, not baby carrots
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste (Durra in the Middle East, I use Contadina)
  • 14 cup olive oil
  • 1 12 lbs beef stew meat, cubed lamb may be used as well
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • season salt (optional)
  • 6 cups water, in 2-cup increments
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes (Maggi in the Middle East, I use Wylers)

Directions

  1. Cut onion in to small pieces. Do not mince or chop too finely, but at the same time, do not cut or chop too coarsely. Set aside.
  2. Wash carrots and cut them into 1/4" thick pieces. Basically, you don't want them too thin or they will disintegrate into the broth. You can peel them if you prefer, before cutting. Set aside.
  3. In a large frying pan, brown the meat with some seasoning salt and pepper. Add the onion and some olive oil from the bottle. Make sure all the meat is brown. Set aside.
  4. In a stew pan, fry the 3 tbsp of tomato paste in the 1/4 cup olive oil for about 5-8 minutes. If it seems dry-looking, add a small amount of extra oil at a time. It should look chunky in the oil, not runny like soup. Stir constantly, it will burn very fast!
  5. Reduce the heat, add first 2 cups of water. Stand back, it may spit at you! Keep adding until all 6 cups have been added. Add the soup cubes. Let this boil for 5 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the pan, making sure all of the tomato paste mixes in the water.
  6. Add the meat, carrots and peas. Allow to come to a boil (takes about 5 minutes) then reduce heat to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to your taste. Cook until meat is tender. Cooking time depends on the quality of meat.
  7. Serve with Middle Eastern rice.
  8. Extra water may be added to counter-act any saltiness or if too much evaporated out while cooking.
  9. Cooking times may vary depending on stove type. Just keep on eye on it and never walk away from cooking food! Stainless steel or a non-stick pan may be used. I prefer non-stick. This may also be transferred to a large crock pot and set on low. Yield depends on how much water is allowed to boil out, but pretty much it makes a lot! Count on leftovers if you're not having people over.

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