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Mansaf is a traditional Jordanian dish, served family-style, on a platter. Made with tender, slow-cooked lamb, creamy yogurt and a full mix of aromatic spices, it’s no wonder mansaf is Jordan’s national dish. Some deft dinner table choreography may need to be involved, as everyone will be reaching for second helpings. Try adding a little saffron to the rice while cooking for a little added fragrance and color.
Set ground spices aside for later.
Rinse the lamb and pat it dry with paper towels. Cut the meat into 2 inch chunks. Keep aside for later.
Rinse the parsley under cool running water and chop finely. Set aside.
Chop the onion.
Heat the ghee in a large pot over medium-high. Add the onion and sauté until soft and transparent (about 7 – 10 minutes).
Stir in the lamb chunks and sear meat until it begins to brown (about 5 minutes). Add the ground spice mix and continue stir-frying until spices become fragrant (about 1 – 2 minutes more).
Pour enough water into the pot to cover meat. Cover the pot, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 1 hour.
After 1 hour, strain and reserve the liquid from the pot, into a large heatproof bowl. Pour half of the liquid broth back into the pot and re-heat to a simmer. Continue cooking meat over low until lamb is tender and begins to fall apart (about 30 – 60 minutes more).
Into a separate saucepan, pour the remaining half of your reserved broth.
Mix in the yogurt. Bring yogurt just to a simmer over medium-low.
Pour the heated yogurt into the pot with your lamb and stir to combine. Allow the meat and yogurt to simmer for 5 minutes. Mix in arrowroot and simmer while stirring, allowing the sauce to thicken (about 5 – 10 minutes).
Remove from heat.
Cook rice according to the package directions. Add crushed saffron to your cooking water for added fragrance and color. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons ghee in a skillet and add the slivered almonds. Toast the almonds for about 5 minutes. Add the pine nuts and continue cooking for 3 minutes more. Set aside into a heatproof bowl.
Use your fingers to split open the khubz bread (or substitute pita) and lay flat on a serving platter. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons ghee and brush over top of the bread.
Spoon rice on top of the bread. Add lamb pieces on top of the rice, and then spoon yogurt over the lamb.
Sprinkle with toasted nuts and parsley.
Note: you can make this dish gluten-free by leaving out the pita or using gluten-free bread.