Lebanese-Style Beef and Spinach Stew
Inspired by the Lebanese dish yakhnet sabanekh, this hearty, homey stew of ground beef and spinach, plus a few alliums and spices for flavoring, comes together quickly and easily. Toasted nuts (almonds are great, pine nuts even better) sprinkled on just before serving add rich flavor and textural contrast. We prefer to use fresh baby spinach for its silky texture, but frozen spinach works well, too (you'll need two 1-pound bags). Just thaw it, drain it in a colander and, if it's still very wet, pat it dry with paper towels. This stew is great with rice and vermicelli pilaf, with a salad of cucumbers and tomatoes alongside. From "Milk Street: Cook What You Have," by Christopher Kimball (Voracious, 2022).
• 1 lb. ground beef
• 2 tsp. ground coriander
• 3/4 tsp. ground allspice
• 1 tsp. ground cumin
• Kosher salt and ground black pepper
• 1/3 c. water
• 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
• 2 tbsp. slivered almonds or pine nuts
• 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
• 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
• 1 lb. container baby spinach or 2 (1-lb.) bags frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and patted dry (see Note)
• 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
• 1 tbsp. lemon juice
• Jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded and chopped, for optional garnish
• Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for optional garnish
In a medium bowl, combine the beef, coriander, allspice, cumin and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add 1/3 cup water and mix with your hands until well combined; set aside.
In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, combine the oil and almonds. Cook, stirring often, until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the almonds to a small bowl; set aside.
To the pot over medium heat, add the onion, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Increase to medium-high, add the beef mixture and cook, breaking the beef into small pieces, until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
If using fresh spinach, add it a large handful at a time, stirring to slightly wilt before each addition. Cook until the spinach is just wilted and deep green, 2 to 3 minutes. If using frozen spinach, add it to the pot, and cook, stirring, until warmed through, about 3 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the lemon zest and juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Before serving, sprinkle with the almonds, drizzle with additional oil and top with jalapeños and parsley, if using.