Syrian Black-Eyed Peas and Veal (Lubiya M’sallat)

Recipe adapted from The World Of Jewish Cooking (1996) by Gil Marks:

Veal is generally ignored by Sephardim, with the exception of Syrians, who commonly serve it for the Sabbath and festivals.  The Aramaic name for black-eyed peas, rubiya  or lubiya, sounds similar to the Hebrew word for “many,” and, therefore, dishes like this one are traditional syrian Rosh Hashanah fare, representing fertility and success.   Fava beans, green peas, and chickpeas are commonly substituted for the black-eyed peas.

This simple stew cooks up in to a fairly uniform light brown color — I recommend garnishing with fresh parsley, finely chopped red pepper and a glug of olive oil to brighten up the presentation.  Watch the pot for burning/sticking towards the end of the simmer.  Make sure to cook it the full hour so meat becomes tender (it will be “cooked,” but still quite chewy, after about 30 minutes).

Serves 6-8

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs. Veal for Stew
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 lbs. (4 cups) shelled fresh or 20 oz. frozen black-eyed peas (or use 1.5 cups dried black-eyed peas, soaked in water overnight)
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or dried thyme
  • About 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Parsley, for garnish (optional)
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saut until lightly colored but not burned, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the veal and water, bring to a boil, cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Add the peas, allspice, cinnamon or thyme, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat, adding more water if necessary, until the meat and peas are tender, and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 1 hour. Or bake in a 350° F oven, adding more water if needed, for 2 to 3 hours. Serve with rice.
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