one pound of lamb or mutton (bone-in is most authentic and gives the dish the best flavor); or any meat (chicken harees with gravy made from the chicken neck, liver and gizzard is one possibility)

a small cinnamon stick or one-quarter teaspoon of ground cinnamon

one-half teaspoon cumin powder or turmeric powder (optional)

salt and black pepper to taste

three or four cups of bulghur wheat or cracked wheat (rice or other grains may also be experimented with)

a few spoonfuls of ghee (samen), or butter (optional)

What you do

In a large bowl, rinse the wheat until clean. Cover it with water and let it soak for a few hours or overnight. Drain it before cooking. (Soaking is optional, but grain which has not been soaked will need longer cooking time.)

Place the meat in a heavy cooking pot. Add three cups cups of water for every cup of wheat. Add spices. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook for ten minutes.

Remove meat (but not broth) from cooking pot and set aside. Skim any froth from the broth and throw it away. Stir wheat into the pot, cover, and reduce heat to simmer.

As wheat begins to cook: Remove meat from bones. Shred or pound meat into very small pieces. Return meat to pot. Stir until meat and wheat are well mixed. Cover tightly and continue to cook for two (or four, or six) hours over very low heat. Check occasionally and add water if necessary. [Some cooks put a heavy rock on the lid to keep it tight. The pot could also be placed in a warm oven to allow it to cook slowly.]

When wheat is tender and fully cooked: Add ghee or butter, and stir it forcefully to turn it into a smooth porridge.

If desired choose a flavoring option:

Add milk, and sugar or honey, along with the ghee or butter. (you should skip the cumin and turmeric if you plan to do so).

Sprinkle lemon juice over the Harees.

Serve Harees topped with fried onions. Lemon juice can be added also.

Make a gravy by boiling the meat bones with a chopped onion and the same spices used to cook the Harees. Strain and serve the hot gravy along with the Harees.