Lamb Qidreh

Lamb Qidreh Recipe

Qidreh is a Palestinian meat and rice dish originating in Hebron. The rice is cooked with chunks of meat, garbanzo beans, aromatics, and stock, resulting in a decadent main.

Serves8 to 10

Prep15 minutes

Cook2 hours 30 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Lamb qidreh
Credit: Photo: Nader Khouri | Food + Prop Stylist: Jillian Knox

In Arab culture, rice is not a side; it is the main event. At an azoumeh, the Arabic word for our celebratory feasts, there is often a big dish involving some form of spiced rice and meat, often chicken or lamb. Qidreh, a Palestinian meat and rice dish originating in Hebron, is one such entrée. Its name is the Arabic word for “pot,” denoting the special clay or brass pot in which chunks of meat, garbanzo beans, aromatics, and a rich stock are cooked, traditionally over a communal wood-fired oven or over hot coals. The result is a decadent main entrée showstopper. This specialty for large gatherings is never made in small quantities.

Qidreh is also distinguished by the special spice mix that creates the perfect balance of sweet, earthy, and savory notes. Every family has their own “secret” qidreh spice mixture. This celebratory dish is perfectly paired with yogurt and a salad to lighten it up.

Credit: Photo: Nader Khouri | Food + Prop Stylist: Jillian Knox

Lamb Qidreh Recipe

Qidreh is a Palestinian meat and rice dish originating in Hebron. The rice is cooked with chunks of meat, garbanzo beans, aromatics, and stock, resulting in a decadent main.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 2 hours 30 minutes

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the lamb:

  • 1 cup

    dried garbanzo beans, or 1 (about 15-ounce) can garbanzo beans

  • 2

    medium yellow onions

  • 1 head

    garlic

  • 1

    (about 5 pound) bone-in leg of lamb, or about 3 pounds boneless leg of lamb

  • 1 tablespoon

    ghee or olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons

    Diamond Crystal kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 4

    bay leaves

  • 2

    cinnamon sticks

  • 6

    green cardamom pods

  • 6 cups

    water

For the rice:

  • 3 cups

    basmati rice

  • 1 teaspoon

    seven-spice or allspice

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground turmeric

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

Serving options:

  • Plain Greek yogurt

  • Arab Salad

Instructions

Make the lamb:

  1. If using dried garbanzos, place 1 cup in a medium bowl and enough cool water to cover by an inch or two. Let sit at cool room temperature overnight. (If using canned, skip this step.)

  2. Dice 2 medium yellow onions (about 4 cups). Separate 1 head of garlic into cloves and peel the cloves. Cut 1 (about 5-pound) bone-in leg of lamb or 3 pounds boneless leg of lamb into 3 to 4-inch pieces, trimming off any sinew or pieces of fat. Drain the soaked garbanzo beans, or drain and rinse 1 can garbanzo beans.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon ghee or olive oil in a very large Dutch oven or oven safe stock pot (at least 7 quarts) over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onions and sauté until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the lamb and garlic cloves and stir to combine. Add 2 tablespoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt, 4 bay leaves, 2 cinnamon sticks, and 6 green cardamom pods. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.

  4. Add 6 cups water and the soaked garbanzo beans (if using canned beans, do not add them here). Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook until the lamb is tender and can be pulled apart easily with a fork, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Check a few times during the cooking and use a ladle to skim off the scum that rises to the top. Meanwhile, soak the rice and prepare the spice mix.

Make the rice:

  1. Please 3 cups basmati rice in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover by an inch or two. Place 1 teaspoon seven-spice mix or allspice, 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine.

  2. About 30 minutes before the rice is ready, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven, remove any racks above it, and heat the oven to 350ºF. When the lamb is ready, taste and season with more kosher salt as needed. Drain the rice through a large fine-mesh strainer. Sprinkle the spice mix over the rice and stir to combine.

  3. Bring the lamb back to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the rice and canned garbanzo beans and stir to combine. Cover and transfer to the oven. Bake until the rice is tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Uncover and fluff the rice with a fork. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed. Serve with Greek yogurt and an Arab salad if desired, removing the whole spices as you come across them.

Recipe Notes

Seven spice: Seven spice is a mix of ground allspice, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, coriander, and cardamom. It can be found in Arab or international grocery stores.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.