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Rez b Heshwi
arabic rice, meat, and nut stuffing 

Photo Credit: Alexandra Grablewski

Succulent ground meat, fresh herbs, and traditional spices come together in my moist and meaty Rez b Heshwi, which makes a mouthwatering stuffing for turkey, chicken, Cornish hen, and lamb. In my family, we always serve it for Thanksgiving, for a Lebanese twist on tradition. Simply heated up and served plain, it makes for a spectacular side dish, too.


8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter 

1 pound ground meat (lamb or 80/20 percent beef)

3 cups long-grain rice 

1 cup wild rice

8 cups cold water or 4 cups cold water and 4 cups chicken,

turkey, or vegetable broth

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon Sabah Bharat (Seven-Spice) (optional)

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely minced

2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, finely minced

2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely minced

2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely minced

2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, finely minced

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/4 cup raw whole walnuts

1/4 cup raw whole almonds

1/4 cup raw slivered almonds

1/4 cup marcona almonds (optional)

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Once the butter starts to sizzle, add the meat and cook until browned, breaking it up with a wooden spoon and stirring continuously. 

Add the long-grain and wild rice and toast the grains for 2 to 3 minutes, blending them in with the meat. Pour the water or broth into the pot and season with 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, allspice, sab'ah baharat (seven spice), and fresh herbs.Stir to completely incorporate all the ingredients. Taste the broth and add additional salt or seasonings as needed.

Cover the pot and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Test this by dipping the handle of a wooden spoon in the pot; if the handle comes out clean the rice is ready, if the handle is wet, then simmer for a few more minutes and test again. The rice should be tender but not mushy. Once cooked, remove the pot from the heat.

While the rice is cooking, toast the nuts. In a large sauté pan, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the nuts, sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss to coat completely. Once the nuts are light golden brown and fragrant remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl.

Lightly fluff the rice with a fork and transfer to a large serving bowl. Top with the toasted nuts and serve, or completely cool and use for stuffing.

NOTE: For a vegetarian version substitute diced portobello or baby bella mushrooms for the meat, and use vegetable broth or water as a cooking liquid. 

Copyright 2017 by Julie Ann Sageer in Julie Taboulie’s Lebanese Kitchen, St. Martin’s Press/St. Martin’s Griffin. All Rights Reserved.

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