Salvers: Meat and Potato Roast

I always like to read menus at restaurants here in Amman and look out for the English typos. It’s funny when you see items like “pananas and milk”, “eggplane”, and my most recent favorite, “salvers”. My lit.- major friend thankfully pointed out that salver is an actual English word, albeit a bit archaic. The item itself, however, is a popular favorite among the people of Amman. The basic idea is to roast any combination of meat and vegetables in the oven to then be eaten with fresh bread. These roasts (or “salvers”! – called sawani in Arabic) are considered lighter to eat and easier to make compared to tabeekh – literally, “cooking.” My aunt Hala always reminds me that she and her husband much prefer these sawani, and as such she is a pro at making them. I’d like to post a recipe for one of her most simple roasts: meat and potatoes.

Ingredients

approx. 500 grams of cubed lamb or beef – you can also use your favorite cuts of chicken instead of red meat

approx. 500 grams of cubed, peeled potatoes

approx. 500 grams of cubed tomatoes

2 red onions, halved and finely sliced

1 green chili pepper, chopped (optional)

1-2 bell peppers (optional)

salt&pepper to taste

1-2  tablespoons of allspice

1-2 teaspoons of yellow curry powder

a pinch of cardamom and cinnamon

approx. 2/3 cups of hot water

approx. 1/4 cup of vegetable or olive oil

Method

Preparing the vegetables outside in Aunt Hala’s garden!


In a large roasting pan, combine the meat and all the vegetables. Add the spices, a drizzle of oil, and salt&pepper to taste.

Toss with your hands so that the spices combine with all the other ingredients thoroughly.

Arrange the ingredients in the roasting pan such that the meat is on the bottom, and the vegetables are on top.

Pour the hot water and then the oil all over the ingredients in the pan, and then cover the pan with aluminum foil. Roast in a medium oven for approximately half an hour or until the meat is cooked thoroughly. If you want, you can uncover the pan at the end and turn on the broiler for a few minutes, so the vegetables blacken a bit on top.

 

Serve with fresh bread and a salad.

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