A Dish That ‘Ike’ Likes

‘Ike’ El-Alam is reminded of his childhood with this luscious Lebanese import of sweet peas and lamb.

As a child in northern Lebanon, Koshaya “Ike” El-Alam loved this dish, which his mother often served to the family. After moving to Michigan at age 23, El-Alam became an electrical engineer, but found that the restaurant business intrigued him more. Ike’s Restaurant is at 38550 Van Dyke in Sterling Heights. — Molly Abraham

> Sweet Peas and Lamb

1 cup olive oil (divided)
1 large onion, chopped
1-1/2 pounds leg of lamb, cut into large chunks (lamb shoulder is an alternative, but leg is preferred)
2 cups tomato sauce
1 “soup spoon” of tomato paste
2 cups lamb stock (or water)
1 cup carrots, diced
1-1/2 pounds frozen peas
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon allspice

Heat 1/2 cup of the olive oil in heavy pot, then add the chopped onion. Cook until onions are softened. Add lamb and continue to cook until browned. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, and lamb stock. Cook until lamb is tender. Add carrots and peas.

In another pan, add remaining olive oil and minced garlic. Sauté until it begins to change color. Pour sautéed garlic over lamb mixture. Add salt, pepper, and allspice. Stir well. Simmer 10 minutes and serve with rice pilaf.