israeli beef roast

israeli beef roast

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Yes, this beef roast takes some time, but trust me, it’s worth every minute you put into it!  It’s the antithesis of ‘fast’ food~~ ‘slow’ food to perfection!

One of the most ethereal things about Middle Eastern cooking is the combination of spices used in dishes or simply sprinkled on flatbread.  On a trip to Israel as a guest of Taste of Israel, I indulged in some of the most amazing food in the world.  Of course, prior to going I’d been experimenting with Middle Easter cuisine and spices for about a year, so the names, tastes, and aromas weren’t totally foreign to me.  However, in the Mahche Yehuda Market in Jerusalem where I purchased ‘Za’atar’ as well as other spices and spice combinations, I for the first time in my life smelled what spices should probably smell like! The intensity, The aroma. The color. The taste!  Beyond imagination!

Za’atar is a very versatile spice combination that’s oftentimes used as a tabletop spice condiment to sprinkle on whatever~~kind of like salt and pepper.  It’s comprised typically of  Sumac, toasted sesame seeds, salt, cumin, Mediterranean thyme, Greek oregano and marjoram; however, like curry, there are variations of ingredients.  Serious Eats has a simple explanation that I shall quote here~~I mean why re-invent the wheel!

“Za’atar the spice blend is a mixture of dried herbs, sesame seeds, and sumac, and often salt, a centuries-old mixture dating back to the 13th century, at least. What those herbs are and how all those ingredients are proportioned vary from culture to culture and family to family. In much of the Middle East, za’atar recipes are closely guarded secrets, and there are also substantial regional variations. In Jordan, the za’atar is particularly heavy on the sumac, so it looks red. Lebanese za’atar may have dried orange zest; Israeli za’atar (adopted from Arab communities much like the American adoption of salsa) often includes dried dill. Unsurprisingly, these variations are a matter of extreme national pride.”There are some standards: the most common herbs are thyme and oregano, and they make up the bulk of the blend. Marjoram, mint, sage, or savory are also common.”

Make my Za’atar! I promise it’s very simple!

Here’s another global recipe for your palate! Berbere Lamb Sliders and so simple to make! Let your palate do the traveling without going through TSA!
beef roast

israeli beef roast

Yield: Serves a Crowd!

Ingredients

  • Preheat oven to 325 (for cooking beef)
  • 1/2 cup dried green lentils
  • 3 tbl extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3 cups of water, divided
  • 3 bell peppers tri-colors, roasted (see below)
  • 3 lb. chuck roast, cut into 4-6 smaller pieces
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • Bouquet of fresh thyme, oregano and mint (tied with cooking string)
  • 3 tsp. za'atar (Make my recipe for Za'atar.)
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili flakes
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms (I used lobster mushrooms.)
  • 1  cup sliced carrots (pre-sliced)
  • 2 garlic bulbs, small size & most of paper removed
  • 1 large onion, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup small green olives
  • 1 lemon, small/juice only
  • 1/4 cup flat parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbl. fresh cilantro, chopped

Instructions

  • Put the lentils, olive oil, salt, and half of the water in a heavy pot with a lid.  Cook on medium high heat about 45 minutes adding water as necessary.  When the lentils are almost done and water is absorbed, remove, and set aside.  Keep covered.
  • Roast these peppers on an open gas flame on the stove or in the oven at 450 degrees.  When charred (to your liking), remove, put in a bowl and cover with a dish to sweat out. When cooled, clean out seeds, peel off the black charring (as much as you like) and cut into bite-sized chunks.
  • Coat the chuck roast with salt and flour and cut into 4-6 smaller pieces.  Heat (medium high) the olive oil in a large heavy skillet (with a lid), add the meat pieces and sear. Reduce heat to low, add the wine and let it cook about 3 minutes.  Put the bouquet of herbs on top.  Add about 2-3 cups of water.  Add zahtar, paprika and chili flakes to liquid and blend in. Cover with the lid and put in a preheated 325 oven for about 3 hours.  Check once or twice and add water or beef broth as needed.
  • Meanwhile, move on to the the other parts of the dish.
  • After about 3 of cooking the beef, add the lentils, mushrooms, carrots, garlic, onion and olives and return to the oven cooking another 45 minutes (325 degrees).  Check for tenderness of the added veggies.  Vegetables and meat should be very tender. Remove from the oven. squeeze on the juice on a lemon and add the parsley and cilantro and toss into the beef mixture.  It's ready to serve!
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beef roast

6 Comments

  1. Hello Ally Phillips. I have a lot of respect for you. You have a remarkable story behind you and with your amazing creativity and ambition you have been able to touch millions of people. Thank you for all the fantastic recipes that you share with us. I hope I don’t offend you when I ask what defines this dish as ‘Israeli’? I’m assuming aside from the use of Za’atar there is some theme or reason? I’m Israeli myself. A friend of mine (he’s not Israeli) loves my cooking and sent me this recipe of yours in hopes that I make this for him. So as I read over the recipe, in excitement to make this for my enthused friend, I didn’t really see this dish as being Israeli from the little that I know. I might be wrong of course. I don’t want to disappoint my friend that this amazing looking dish isn’t actually Israeli, so I was looking to get some clarification from you beforehand. Thanks!

    • Hi, Nati! Thank you so much for you thoughtful comment and for your kind compliments! I’m thrilled your friend shared this recipe with you! I think as a cook we all have our individual interpretations of foods and different types of dishes. After spending time in your beautiful country of Israel and eating a lot of fabulous dishes, I was inspired by not only Za’tar but other ingredients like lentils, mint, cilantro, fresh vegetables, olives. All coming together with tender chunks of beef. I had similar flavors while visiting and watching amazing ladies cook (Druze). It was truly like observing a perfect symphony of women in the kitchen combining tantilizing flavors! So, for me this recipe is a tribute of sorts to those beautiful textures, flavors, ingredients! I would be honored for you to make It! Please share with me if you do. And, like any recipe, we usually tweak to “make it our own” version! Thank you so much! And, please come hang out with me often in Ally’s Kitchen!! ♥♥♥♥

  2. Ally, your description of the spice market aroma was another dimension to travel that’ll remain in your “food memory banks” forever. Don’tcha just love “surround sound — smell — sights — savoring” when you go new places?! Your roast looks fantabulous!!! Another must try…

    • Oh, Kim! You are so right! This roast is fabulous, and TMOFW probably will approve…just don’t tell him what’s in it at first!! Believe me, those spices still are emitting a powerful aroma in my pantry….it’s heavenly!! xoxo

  3. Ally – that looks fantastic! I’m a big fan of Za’atar and I can’t wait to make this recipe. I love the idea of having the lentils with it… and the flavor of the olives and cilantro. YUM! I’d definitely need the flatbread to get every bit of deliciousness. Going to check out that recipe now, too! xoxo

    • Helena…it’s a keeper keeper, and know your tastebuds, me thinks you’ll love! The lentils are used so much in Israel, and they add a texture and taste that’s subtle yet powerful…sure hope you try it!! xox Thanks, honeybunch!!

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