Lamb in Yogurt Sauce/Mansaf

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Lamb in Yogurt Sauce/Mansaf

Mansaf is considered the national dish of Jordan, and it is often served for festive occasions of all sorts, including weddings and important holidays such as Eid al-Fitr. In Jordan the yogurt sauce is usually made with dried goat-milk yogurt or whey that has been cooked with water, but plain yogurt will work as well.


Ingredients

        1 lb. lean lamb, cut into bite-sized chunks*
        1 onion, chopped
        ¾ tsp. salt
        ¼ tsp. pepper
        1½ c. medium or long-grain rice
        ¼ c. (½ stick) butter
        3 c. hot water
        1 tsp. salt
        2 c. plain yogurt
        4 to 6 pieces pita or other flat bread.

*Jordanian mansaf is almost always made with lamb. However, you can substitute beef or chicken if you prefer. Chicken will only need to cook for about 30 to 40 minutes. Or, make a vegetarian mansaf with potatoes (boil 20 to 30 minutes) or tofu (bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes, or sauté lightly for 5 to 10 minutes).

Instructions

1. Place lamb in a large saucepan or stockpot with chopped onions and enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer, add salt and pepper, and cover. Simmer 1 hour, or until meat is cooked all the way through.

2. When lamb has cooked about 40 minutes, prepare rice. Rinse rice in water until water runs almost clear. In a saucepan or a wide, deep skillet, heat butter over medium heat until melted. Add rice, stirring well to coat grains with butter, and raise heat to high. Cook 3 to 4 minutes. Add hot water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until all water has been absorbed. Turn off heat and leave rice covered to steam.

3. Remove lamb from heat and carefully scoop out and reserve about 1 c. of cooking water.

4. Place yogurt in a blender and blend on a low setting to make the yogurt runnier. If necessary, add a little bit of the reserved cooking water until the yogurt has the consistency of a creamy sauce.

5. Place yogurt in a second saucepan or pot and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Try to always stir in the same direction. Reduce heat and simmer 10 to 15 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.

6. Carefully drain lamb and onions. Add yogurt sauce to stockpot with lamb and stir well. Cook 10 to 15 minutes more, or until sauce is thick.

7. Cover a large serving platter with flat bread in a single layer and pour a small amount of yogurt sauce over the bread. Pile the rice on top of the bread, pour lamb and yogurt over rice, and serve hot.

Food: Lamb in Yogurt Sauce/Mansaf

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