Thursday, April 6, 2017

Hor'i - Yemen Style Beef Shank

     A Tasty Beef Shank Entrée!
     Hor'i is a traditional beef shank recipe that is well worth giving a try.  Hor'i is one of the tastiest beef shank entrées of them all and it is considered to be one of the Yemen national dishes.  
     A traditional Yemen spice blend called Hawayij is part of this recipe.  Like most African and Middle Eastern spice blends, the spices should be ground shortly before they are used, so peak aromatic flavors can be achieved.  
     Green Cardamom is sometimes available in Mediterranean food markets markets.  Green Cardamom Pods can always be found at internet shopping sites.  Green Cardamon is much more aromatic than ground dried cardamom.  Green Cardamom is part of the Hawayij spice blend and it does make a difference in flavor.  

     Hawayij Spice Blend:
     I use an old brass hand turned Turkish spice grinder to grind spice mixtures.  A Turkish spice grinder can also used as a Turkish Coffee Grinder, so sometimes this kind of brass grinder is marketed as a coffee grinder instead of a spice grinder, but it is the same thing.  The texture of the grind can be adjusted from fine powder to coarse granules by turning two lock nuts in the mechanism.
     There are a few different styles of Hawayij and some blends can require several more spices to achieve an even more complex flavor.  Today's Hawayij recipe is fairly basic.  This recipe makes more Hawayij than what is needed for 1 portion of Hor'i.  Store any extra Hawayij in a small jar for later use. 
     Step 1:  Place these in ingredients in a Turkish spice grinder, spice mill or a mortar and pestle:
     - 4 tablespoons of black peppercorns
     - 2 tablespoons of caraway seeds
     - 1/2 teaspoon of Crocus sativa Saffron Threads (or 2 teaspoons of Safflower Saffron threads)
     - 1 tablespoon of green cardamom seeds 
     Grind the spices to a powder.
     Step 2:  Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of ground turmeric.
     Step 3:  Mix the ingredients together.
     Place the Hawayij Spic Mixture in a sealed container till it is needed. 

     Hor'i - Yemen Stewed Beef Shank:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.  
     There are no complicated cooking techniques involved in the traditional recipe.  The beef shank is pan braised.
     *Start cooking 1 portion of Plain Basmati Rice when the Beef Shank is almost finished cooking.
     Step 1:  Select 1 large Beef Shank Steak that is 3/4" to 1" thick.   The Beef Shank should weigh about 12 ounces with the bone attached.
     Step 2:  Place the beef shank in a sauce pot that is just slightly wider than the beef shank.
     Cover the beef shank with 1" of extra water.
     Place the pot over medium heat and bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Skim the foam and fat off of the surface of the liquid, till most of the impurities are gone.
     Step 3:  Add 3 partially crushed cloves of garlic.
     Add 3/4 cup of small chopped onion.
     Add 1/2 cup of chopped peeled seeded plum tomato.  (concasse)
     Add 1 tablespoon of tomato puree.
     Return the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Add 1 or 2 pinches of crushed dried red chile pepper.  (to taste)
     Add 1/2 teaspoon to 3/4 teaspoon of the Hawayij Spice Mixture.    
     Add Kosher Salt to taste.
     Step 5:  Cover the pot with a lid.
     Gently simmer for about 3 hours till the beef shank becomes very tender.  
     *Only add water if necessary to barely keep the beef shank covered with liquid.  Do not stir or flip the beef shank in the pot, so it is not damaged when it becomes tender. 
     Step 5:  After the beef shank becomes tender, remove the lid from the pot.
     Raise the temperature to medium low heat.
     Simmer and reduce till the sauce is a medium thin consistency that can cling to the beef shank.
     Keep the Hor'i warm over very low heat.
     Place 1 portion of Plain Basmati Rice on the back half of a plate.
     Carefully use a wide spatula to place the beef shank on the front half of the plate.
     Spoon a generous amount of the braising sauce over the beef shank and onto the plate.
     Garnish the Hor'i with an Italian Parsley sprig.  

     The flavors of Yemen Hor'i comfortably complex and satisfying, especially during warm weather!

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