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Harees (Omani Savory Beef and Wheat Porridge) with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms: this comfort food at its finest! This meal is a warming and filling dinner perfect for a cold winter night!

Harees (Savory Beef and Wheat Porridge)

Adapted from Felicia Campbell. I made this recipe in the slow cooker, but you can also make it in the oven on a low heat, such as 250-275 F. Unlike chicken (which the dish can also be made with) beef will take a very long time to break down. Be sure to use pearled or shelled whole wheat berries. Campbell discusses topping the dish with either Omani Oil (cumin and coriander infused ghee) or cardamom infused ghee. I decided to incorporate both into the dish as well as incorporate the ghee drizzle into the onions and mushrooms. This dish must be started the night before you plan to serve it.
Course Entree
Cuisine Middle Eastern, Omani
Author TheSpicedLife


  • 2 cups shelled/pearled whole wheat berries
  • 1 1/2 lbs beef (a braising cut such as chuck or brisket)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 t ghee, plus more later
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 10 cups water, plus more if necessary
  • 1 T kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 4 T ghee, divided
  • 1 t cumin seeds
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1 t ground coriander
  • 1/2 t ground cardamom


  1. Cover the whole wheat berries with water and set aside to soak overnight.
  2. Season the beef with salt and pepper all over.
  3. Using a cooktop-safe slow cooker insert or a heavy bottomed pot, melt the ghee on medium heat and add the beef with 2 cinnamon sticks. Brown on all sides, 5-7 minutes per side.
  4. Add the 10 cups of water and place the insert in the slow cooker on low (or transfer the ingredients from the pot to the slow cooker). My slow cooker can be set for quite a few hours--the goal here is to make sure it keeps cooking until you can deal with it in the morning. I think for me that was 14 hours.
  5. The next day, in the morning, drain the wheat berries and set aside. Remove the beef to a cutting board and shred.
  6. Reserve about a cup of shredded beef and place it in a sealed container in the fridge.
  7. Add the wheat berries along with the rest of the shredded beef and 1 tablespoon of kosher salt back into the slow cooker. Add a little more water if the wheat berries are not submerged.
  8. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high on 3-4 hours, whichever works best for your schedule. Check halfway through and make sure it still has enough water to not burn (because it is a slow cooker, it may very well not, whereas if done in the oven it might). If desired, you can also remove some chewy wheat berries at this point and place them with the reserved shredded beef in the fridge.
  9. About 45 minutes before dinner, begin the onions and mushrooms.
  10. Heat 2 tablespoons of the ghee in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the cumin seeds and roast. When they have darkened and are fragrant, about 30-60 seconds, add the onions with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally. If they start to scorch add a sprinkle of water.
  11. After they have caramelized to golden brown, add another tablespoon of ghee with half the mushrooms. Add a pinch of salt and cook, stirring.
  12. When the mushrooms have released their water and are browning, add the rest of the mushrooms with another pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until the onions and mushrooms both have browned.
  13. Add the coriander and cardamom and stir through. Add the reserved shredded beef (and chewy wheat berries, if you have them) and heat through. Melt the last tablespoon of ghee into the dish. and remove from the heat.
  14. Because I wanted to fully experience this dish as an integrated porridge, I chose to use an immersion blender before serving (Campbell's suggestion). However, you could also whip and mash the porridge with a wooden spoon for more texture.
  15. Taste for more salt, but realize you have salted the onions and mushrooms too.
  16. Serve, topped with the caramelized onions and mushrooms, including the shredded beef.