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Lebanese-Inspired Beef and Barley

Barley is perfect for absorbing the aromatic mixture of allspice, cinnamon and pepper, simmered with beef and spinach.

¼ cup (60 mL) pine nuts, for garnish
1 lb (500 g) extra-lean ground beef
2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
½ tsp (2 mL) ground allspice
½ tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
½ tsp (2 mL) ground black pepper
1 cup (250 mL) pot or pearl barley
3 cups (750 mL) low-sodium beef broth
1 cup (250 mL) water
3 cups (750 mL) packed fresh spinach leaves, or 20 oz (600 g) frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 tsp (5 mL) grated lemon rind (optional)
2 Tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)

Preheat oven to 250°F (120°C).

Spread pine nuts on an ungreased baking sheet and place in preheated oven. Turn oven off. Leave pine nuts in the oven for 5 minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned; remove and cool.

In a Dutch oven or large skillet with lid, brown ground beef over medium-high heat, breaking into large chunks. Add garlic, onion, allspice, cinnamon and pepper, and cook for 3 minutes, until onion is softened. Stir in barley, and cook, stirring, 3 to 4 minutes to lightly toast grains.

Reduce heat to low and pour in broth. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in water, spinach, lemon rind (if using) and juice; cook for 10 minutes, until barley is tender and mixture is slightly saucy.

Serve in shallow bowls, garnished with pine nuts.

Makes 4 servings (1 ½ cups/375 mL each).

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Original recipe in black (as above with lower salt broth, extra lean ground beef in green)

Calories: 532 418
Protein: 34 g 34 g
Carbohydrate: 47 g 48 g
Fibre: 10 g 10 g
Sugars: 3 g 4 g
Fat: 25 g 18 g
Saturated Fat: 8 g 5 g
Trans Fat: 0.5 g 0.3 g
Cholesterol: 68 mg 62 mg
Sodium: 174 mg 569 mg
Potassium: 422 mg 350 mg