This may look like an innocent bowl of porridge. Perhaps nicely cooked oatmeal with a dash of cinnamon on top. But I am here to tell you: Do not be fooled, my friends. This is haleem (حلیم).
I have listened to my husband tell the tale of haleem for a while now. He told me all about his favorite breakfast, how it is warm and filling and tastes like home. And finally he got the recipe from his mother and decided to make it himself.
Thankfully, I knew enough about haleem to be sufficiently wary. (A friend was not so prepared when he was served haleem at his in-laws house.) You see, haleem includes lamb. Lamb. In breakfast food.
I discovered my husband’s plans when he brought home a lamb neck from the grocery store. (One bonus of living in Wales is clearly the abundance of lamb in the stores here. My husband loves this. I, however, was raised in Iowa and much prefer beef and pork. Don’t tell my in-laws.) The other main ingredient is bulgur wheat. So he set about to cooking this up, pounding the cooked lamb with a pestle, mixing it together, and finally topping it all with a healthy spoonful of melted butter and cinnamon.
I tried to give it a fair chance, I promise. But while my eyes and nose made me hope for the sweet oatmeal I know and love, that hint of lamb turned my stomach. Let’s just say my husband has had enough haleem to keep him thinking of home for days.