Recipe: Rubuh' (roast veal stuffed with spiced ground meat and rice)
Total time: 3 1/2 to 4 hours
Servings: 8 to 10
Note: Adapted from Poopa Dweck's "Aromas of Aleppo: The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews." Veal breast can be advance-ordered from better meat counters. Ask your butcher to make a pocket in the veal breast along the rib bones to accommodate the stuffing.
1/3 cup short-grain rice, such as Cal-Rose
1 pound ground beef
4 teaspoons allspice, divided
7 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon white pepper, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped onion, divided
1 cup pine nuts
3 to 4 pounds veal breast, bone in, slit crosswise to form a pocket
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
4 stalks celery, including leaves, chopped
2 pounds frozen peas
1. Soak the rice in water to cover for 30 minutes, then drain. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the rice, beef, 1 teaspoon allspice, 2 tablespoons canola oil, the cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt, one-fourth teaspoon white pepper, one-half cup onion and all of the pine nuts until thoroughly combined.
3. Loosely stuff the veal breast with this filling. Place any leftover stuffing onto the center of a large piece of parchment paper; fold the paper to seal in the stuffing and set it aside to tuck into the roasting pan next to the meat.
4. Combine the remaining 3 teaspoons allspice, 1 teaspoon salt and one-fourth teaspoon white pepper and the garlic. Rub 1 tablespoon oil over the veal breast, season it with one-half teaspoon salt and generously apply the spice all over the veal.
5. In a large roaster over medium-high heat, sauté the remaining 1 cup onion and the celery in 2 tablespoons oil; stir occasionally until soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.
6. In the same large roaster, add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and sear the veal over medium-high heat until just lightly browned, 2 minutes per side. Add the onion-celery mixture to the pan under and around the veal along with the envelope of filling and 1 cup water. Cover and braise at 350 degrees, basting occasionally, for 1 hour.
7. Remove from the oven and add the peas to the roaster. Season with one-eighth teaspoon allspice, 1 teaspoon salt and one-eighth teaspoon white pepper, or to taste.
8. Open the envelope of extra stuffing, break up the stuffing with a fork and stir the stuffing into the peas. Discard the parchment paper. Add one-half cup water to the roaster, cover and return to the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Roast for an additional 1 1/2 to 2 hours until tender. Remove to a large cutting board and allow to rest. Pull out any large bones and thinly slice the roast. Serve with the peas and stuffing alongside.