Saturday, February 12, 2011


I don't know what I will be cooking toward the end of this experiment. Perhaps when I hit Zimbabwe I will be preparing such delicacies that Bobby Mugabe himself would be flattered to see dished up. A nice roast zebra haunch with warthog bacon perhaps? But as I am at the beginning I am sticking to beginners meals. The prerequisites are:

- Easy to find ingredients (small town means fancy ingredients are hard to come by).

- Relatively easy to cook (at least to start with). I want these recipes to be everyday meals rather than once a month dinner party meals.

- Healthy (within reason).

So Afghanistan is a country that I knew only from the news as a place continually at war and a breeding ground for extremists. I can now add to my knowledge of the country the fact that they have a delicious lamb stew that can keep you warm on those cold night fighting infidels in the Khyber Pass. Actually I have also just finished reading the Kite Runner and I have a respect for the majority of the Afghan people and can only wonder at what they have gone through and continue to live through. But I digress...

Lamb With Spinach


1kg Diced lamb leg (for stewing)
Olive oil
300 - 400g (about 3 large) brown or white onion
4 teaspoons chopped garlic (I just guessed a couple of cloves)
2 teaspoons turmeric
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (I think by the end of this I will have a sweet spice collection)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper -- or to taste (I used chilli flakes as this was at hand and I generally like spicy foods)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 x 425ml cans diced tomatoes
1 cup beef stock
150 - 200 g fresh spinach or silverbeet; wash & roughly chopped (I didn't bother measuring - I just chopped a full bunch and added it. I am sure you could do more or less and get away with it).
1/2 cup natural yoghurt
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup roast pine nuts (pan roast watching constantly so as not to burn).


Measure and mix the turmeric, nutmeg, cardamon. red pepper, and cinnamon ready to go.

Also mix the tomatoes and stock in a seperate bowl as these are added together.

Chop the onion and garlic and put in a third bowl.

Sear lamb in the olive oil in a cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven (if you don’t have one use a deep saucepan and transfer to casserole dish before baking). Add the onions and garlic and saute for a few minutes. Put in the spice mix and saute the mixture for 1 to 2 minutes more stirring so as not to burn.

Add the tomatoes and veal stock and stir.

Cover the dish and bake at 180 c for about 1 hour, until the meat is tender and begins to break up. Remove the dish from the oven and add the spinach, stirring until the spinach is wilted and blended in. Allow the stew to cool slightly.

To serve top with yoghurt, lemon zest and roasted pine nuts.


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