Roast with mashed potatoes (Shahbayieh)

March 14, 2013  •  Category:


I sat down with my 89-year old aunt, Wadad, to get some information on how things were done in Beirut (food-wise and marketing). Aunt Wadad is a diminutive woman (80 pounds, 4 feet 5″) but she addresses you as if she were a sergeant commanding his platoon. She gave me the number of the best butcher in town and a list of things to order from him. One of them was shahbayieh. The butcher delivers and brings it all tied-up and ready to be braised. 

The first thing the butcher asks is ” veal or lamb?”. This one is veal (or beef). Most of the meat (beef, veal) here is imported from India (it used to be Brazil) but now Brazilian and Argentinian meat is being sent to the US instead. 

It is nice, once in a while, to have a meat and potatoes kind of meal. 



INGREDIENTS: 6 servings

  • 3 lbs roast
  • 1 carrot, 1 celery stick, various herbs, garlic cloves, onion
  • 1 cinnamon stick, 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • salt, black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup oil 
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch (to make gravy)


  1. Heat the oil and brown the roast on all sides. Remove and set the roast aside.  Add the onion (quartered), carrot, peeled, and the garlic cloves and brown them as well briefly in the remaining oil. Place the roast back in the pot and add the remaining spices, herbs, and one cup of wine vinegar. Bring to a simmer over gentle heat, cover the pot and let it simmer very gently for one hour or so. 
  2. Remove the roast, strain the broth that is left in the pot; make a gravy in a saucepan: bring the broth to a simmer and add the cornstarch (previously diluted in 1/2 cup of tap water). Stir continuously until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with the roast. 



A small orange grove South of Beirut.


6 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. domi says:

    ” Purée ” quel rôti appétissant à l’heure du repas….

  2. zerrin says:

    This beef roast sounds so flavorful! Cinnamon is a great spice to add in it! Love that the butcher prepares it for you, buthers don’t do it here. It really makes the work easier and saves time for preparing some side dishes. Mashed potato is definitely the best match!

  3. Belinda @zomppa says:

    Don’t mess with auntie!! Mmm this looks gorgeous.

  4. deana@lostpastrememb says:

    I love the spicing of the sauce. It’s much like the medieval sauce I did this week with cinnamon and vinegar. It reminds me how much the food of the west owed to the east since the cinnamon-vinager sauce is a direct descendent of this dish!

  5. Susan says:

    I’ve never had veal in a roasted preparation before but it looks wonderful and very reminiscent of dinners my mother used to prepare except for the cinnamon and vinegar additions which sound wonderful. I so enjoyed reading about your aunt 🙂

  6. Alicia (foodycat) says:

    That meat looks beautifully tender!

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