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Layered London Broil With Garlic Yogurt And Pita

Fatteh ma Lahm
This dish is composed of several layers. It begins with toasted pita chips followed by tender morsels of London broil with garbanzo beans and onions. Garlic yogurt is next, followed by toasted pine nuts on top. While the individual layers can be prepared in advance, this dish needs to be assembled just before serving.
Serves 4

Specialty ingredients
Clarified butter, and tahini, found in specialty markets or online.

Special equipment
• A pestle (a garlic press will do).

Prepare ahead
Prepare clarified butter in advance as described on page 196. You can prepare this dish up to 2 days in advance. Refrigerate the garbanzo, onion, and London broil mixture and the garlic yogurt sauce. The other items do not need refrigeration. Keep all the items separate and covered. Serve as directed.

For the London broil
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 pound lean top round London broil, cut into1-inch pieces*
• 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1 cup diced yellow onion (1/2-inch)
• 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
• 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1/16 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 5 cups boiling water
*(You can substitute lean lamb from the leg or lamb shanks for the beef.)

For the pita croutons
• 1-1/2 large pita breads (about 10 inches diameter) or 3 medium pita breads (about 6 inches diameter)
• 2 tablespoons melted clarified butter

For the pine nuts
• 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
• 3 tablespoons melted clarified butter
• 1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds, when in season

For the garbanzo beans and onions
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 4 cups diced yellow onion (1/4-inch)
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon allspice
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 (15- or 16-ounce can) garbanzo beans, drained

For the garlic-yogurt sauce
• 2 large cloves garlic
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 cups plain yogurt (regular, reduced-fat, or fat-free)
• 1 teaspoon tahini (optional)

To prepare the London broil
Preheat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the meat and fry until all of the moisture has evaporated and it is evenly browned (caramelized) on all sides. Add the lemon juice, onions, salt, and spices, and sauté for about 1 minute, then add the boiling water. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally. After 1 hour and 15 minutes test the meat with a fork. If it breaks apart easily, then it is done; if not, continue to cook until tender. Remove the pieces of meat and onion to a dish, cover, and set aside. Reserve 1/2 cup broth for later use.

To prepare the pita croutons
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the pitas cut into 1-inch squares (do not separate the pita halves). Spread the croutons over a foil-lined baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven, shaking the tray occasionally, for 20 to 25 minutes or until they are golden brown. Test a couple of the croutons to make sure they are crisp. Pour the melted clarified butter over them and mix well. Set them aside on the baking sheet.

To prepare the pine nuts
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the pine nuts over a foil-lined baking sheet and toast in the center of the oven, shaking the tray occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until they are golden brown, then transfer them to a small microwavable bowl. Add the melted clarified butter. Set aside.

To prepare the garbanzo beans and onions
Preheat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, salt, and spices, and mix well. Add the garbanzo beans. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, until the onions are tender. Add the 1/2 cup reserved broth and the pieces of meat and onion. Increase the heat to high and cook for about a minute or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside.

To prepare the garlic-yogurt sauce
In a bowl, mash the garlic and salt to a pulp using a pestle. Stir in the yogurt and tahini. Refrigerate until needed. Bring to room temperature before using.

To serve
Heat the garbanzo, onion, and meat mixture. Warm the toasted pita croutons in the oven.
Spread the warm pita croutons over the bottom of a flat dish or platter. Pour the heated garbanzo, onion, and meat mixture over the pita layer, then spoon the room-temperature garlic-yogurt sauce over the meat layer. Reheat the butter and pine nut mixture and drizzle it over the yogurt. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over the top, when in season (October through January). Serve at once.

You can omit the London broil and serve this dish without meat. Just double the recipe for the garbanzo beans and onions.

Recipe from CLASSIC LEBANESE CUISINE by Kamal Al-Faqih

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