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Introducing one wholesome savory layer over another in this “lasagna” type dish, Beef Shank Layered Fatteh is a delicious layered dish packed with loads of protein from the meat and chickpeas.
This satisfying hearty dish is sometimes likened to a Middle Eastern nacho dish because of its pita bread layer! All I know is that you’re going to love eating it and feeding it to your loved ones.
Beef Shank Layered Fatteh
What is “Fatteh“?
The word “Fatteh” (sometimes written as fetteh, fateh, or fette) is an Arabic word for which its literal translation means crumbled or broken down. It’s used in the name of this dish because the pita bread is usually toasted, cracked into pieces, and layered in the dish (or simply used as a base).
Also, the great thing about this dish is that its main ingredients- chickpeas and pita bread- marry well with so many other flavors and ingredients!
Middle Eastern Variations
The roots of fatteh are Lebanese. In its original and earliest forms, Beef Shank Layered Fatteh was made as a simple-man’s dish. You could make this dish in its least complex form for little money and feed a whole bunch of mouths!
Although it’s popularized in Lebanon, and in the Middle East in general, as a breakfast dish, plenty enjoy it for lunch and dinner! You could also make a light version (found in the adaptations below) as an appetizer or side dish.
I find the Palestinian Fatteh to be quite the treat! First of all, the dish is usually made with chicken rather than meat. Get this! The chickpea is also a no show in this one!
It’s made with a basmati rice layer cooked in the chicken broth leftover from the boiled chicken. The chicken is shredded to create another layer. Tahini sauce is yet another staple ingredient not used in this version of Fatteh- but can be added if you like.
The sauce is a garlic-yogurt sauce piled on in thickness at the end.
So, the layering goes like this: toasted pita bread (usually fried in this dish), cooked rice, shredded chicken, garlic-yogurt sauce, toasted pine nuts in oil, and garnish of choice. Sounds so satisfying and yummy!
So Much Variations To Try! So Little Time!
Of course, you’re going to find some common steps or ingredients within each of these variations. But, the Syrian Fatteh is also a show-stopper!
To start, you soak your toasted pita bread in a little bit of the chickpea brine. Whether your chickpeas are store-bought or boiled at home, you’ll take a few spoonfuls and pour them over your bread layer.
Next, mash three-quarters of your chickpeas. Make your garlic-tahini sauce (no yogurt here!) and mix it in nicely with your mashed chickpeas.
Finally, layer them over your pita bread! Melt some butter, toast some pine nuts in there, and pour over the fatteh while hot. Garnish with some parsley or shallots and enjoy a masterpiece!
Lebanese Original Fatteh
The most original recipe of Lebanese Fatteh isn’t too much different from my own recipe. One unique thing in the original recipe is that the bread and chickpeas were the stars of the dish for their inexpensive cost.
So, you will definitely find more than one layer of pita bread. In the original recipe, the bread isn’t toasted. It’s simply cut-up, or torn-up by hand, into the dish.
A garlic-yogurt-tahini sauce (which is usually very lemony) is poured in layers.
Here’s what to expect! A layer of pita bread soaked in sauce, layer of chickpeas, layer of bread and sauce over it, and another layer of chickpeas.
Finally, what’s left of the sauce goes on top. Finish it off with a sprinkle of toasted nuts, a spoon of yummy cumin, and a garnish of your choice.
The dish is usually served with a huge variety of veggies ranging from tomatoes, fresh mint, onions, cucumbers, and other sides like pickles, makdus, and olives!
Other Adaptations to Beef Shank Layered Fatteh
If you thought the variations of Fatteh were over, you couldn’t be more WRONG! Lol! Like I mentioned above, the ingredients in this dish marry well with so many others that it can be adapted in many ways.
Also, what time of day and to whom you are serving this dish may affect what variant of this recipe you want to use.
Grab a Taste of The Middle Eastern Culture!
A Vegetarian Layered Fatteh
Obviously, it has become apparent that this dish can easily be made vegetarian. For example, you could just leave out the chicken or meat and it’s set. Or, you can opt for a more flavorful vegetarian preparation and make fatteh with eggplant.
The aubergine Fatteh is more popular than you would think. In fact, some meat-eating people prefer a beef and aubergine layered version!
The simplest way to make Fatteh low carb is to use keto pita bread, or simply leave it out completely! You can reduce the amount of yogurt used in the yogurt-tahini sauce, or use less sauce in general.
Alternatives to Beef Shanks
If you don’t feel like using beef shanks in your Fatteh, then don’t you worry! I have quite a few delicious alternatives you can try.
Replace your beef shanks with lamb meat, ground beef, shredded chicken, eggplant, or makdus (stuffed/pickled eggplant).
What Are Beef Shanks?
Whole beef shanks are basically the leg of the cow removed from the bone. Normally, this cut of beef can be tough and dry so it’s best cooked on low heat and with moisture.
Beef shank stew is a popular way to cook this cut of meat because it ensures that the meat won’t dry out and will be soft to the touch.
Different Ways to Prepare Beef Shanks
To ensure tenderness and moistness, it’s important you cook beef shanks appropriately.
Grilled Beef Shanks
Although you can grill beef shanks, it really is an art form. You must have a braising sauce, and it’s best to marinade the cuts of meat at least four hours in advance.
The grill should be on medium-high heat when pre-heating, and then turned to low when cuts are put on the grill. Grill on both sides evenly, brushing the braising sauce each time you flip so it doesn’t dry out.
An Authentic Lebanese Dish!
How to Cook Beef Shanks In The Oven
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Sprinkle your beef shanks with salt and pepper on both sides, then place them in the oven.
You can also sear them in a pan and then add broth or water to the pan. Cover them with parchment paper and aluminum foil and move into the oven.
They’ll need at least two hours of cooking time.
Tips for The Perfect Beef Shank Layered Fatteh!
Tip 1: For added crunch and flavor, add some spices to a half cup of chickpeas and bake in the oven until crisp. You can add them as a separate layer within the Fatteh or sprinkle them over the top!
2: If your opting for ground beef instead of beef shanks (which is a timesaver), then sauté some minced garlic and finely chopped onions with the meat for an added kick.
3: You can use scissors to cut the pita bread into desired size and shape before toasting or frying.
4: If you don’t like your bread soggy, you can opt out of the base layer of pita bread and add them to the top over the sauce so you can get as much crunch as you can.
5: Sprinkle cumin on the very top layer for a perfectly balanced flavor.
6: You can garnish with dried mint, or add fresh parsley, cilantro, or pomegranate seeds.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best way to cook beef shanks quickly without drying them out is to use a pressure cooker or slow cooker.
Separate the two halves of a normal Lebanese loaf or pita bread, brush them with some olive oil and fry until golden. You can also go for a healthier option and bake them in the oven.
I wouldn’t mix everything together until you are ready to serve, or else the dish will turn extremely soggy and that’ll ruin the whole experience.
List of Ingredients
- beef shanks
- plain yogurt
- seven spices
- pine nuts or slivered almonds toasted
- parsley and pita bread for garnish
- lemon juice
- plain yogurt
- olive oil
Follow The Instructions
First, mix all ingredients including the olive oil in the food processor for 5-7 minutes, or Vitamix for 1 minute, until smooth. Pause a few times to clean down the edges.
Then, taste and add salt if needed. Hummus should be creamy! You can also check out my Hummus recipe for detailed instructions.
First, place Beef Shanks in a pressure cooker filled half way with water. Sprinkle some salt and seven spices, and set for an hour.
Second, in a large serving plate, spread a full layer of premade or homemade hummus. Mix the 3 cups of yogurt with 1 minced garlic and 1-2 teaspoon salt, then spread over the layer of hummus.
Next, once the beef shanks are finished, sauté with 2 tablespoons of butter on high heat. Sprinkle on each side ½ tablespoon of seven spices and salt. Sauté for 2-3 minutes on each side, then break the shanks apart using a spoon.
Then, spread the broken beef shanks on top of the yogurt, and top them off with the drained chickpeas all over.
Finally, toast some pine nuts or slivered almonds in the same pan in which you sautéed the beef shanks with avocado oil. Garnish the finished Fatteh with the toasted nuts, minced parsley, and toasted bread, and enjoy!
Recipes You May Want to Try
- Freekeh with Beef Shanks
- Roasted Eggplant Salad
- Seven Spices Recipe
- Meat and Veggie Wellington Roll
- Easy Creamy Hummus with Tahini
- Vegan Hummus Recipe
- Baked Cumin Chicken and Potatoes
- Mujadara Hamra
- Tender Slow Cooked Roast Beef
Beef Shank Layered Fateh
- Pressure Cooker
- In a food processor, mix all the ingredients, including the olive oil, for 5-7 minutes or in a blender for 1 minute until smooth. Pause a few times to clean down edges.
- Place Beef Shanks in a pressure cooker filled half way with water. Sprinkle salt and seven spices. Set for an hour.
- In a large serving plate, spread a full layer of premade or homemade hummus. Mix the 3 cups of yogurt with 1 minced garlic, 1-2 teaspoon of salt, then spread over the layer of hummus.
- Once the beef shanks are finished, sauté with 2 tablespoons of butter on high heat sprinkling on each side ½ tablespoon of seven spices and salt. Sauté for 2-3 minutes on each side, then break the shanks apart using a spoon. Spread the broken beef shanks on top of the yogurt.
- Pour over the drained chickpeas on top of the beef shanks.
- Toast the pine nuts or slivered almonds in the same pan in which you sautéed the beef shanks with avocado oil. Garnish the finished Fatteh with the toasted nuts, minced parsley, and toasted bread. Enjoy!
Tips for the perfect Beef Shank Layered Fatteh:
- For added crunch and flavor you can add some spices to a half cup of chickpeas and bake in the oven until crisp. You can add them as a separate layer within the fatteh or sprinkle them over the top!
- If your opting for ground beef instead of beef shanks (which is a timesaver) then sauté some minced garlic and finely chopped onions with the meat for an added kick.
- You can use scissors to cut the pita bread into desired size and shape before toasting or frying.
- If you don’t like your bread soggy, you can opt out of the base layer of pita bread and add them to the top over the sauce so you can get as much crunch as you can.
- Sprinkle cumin on the very top layer for a perfectly balanced flavor.
- You can garnish with dried mint, or add fresh parsley, cilantro, or pomegranate seeds.