Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Spinach and Lamb Stew

I don't remember much about my maternal grandmother - she lived with us when I was quite young - but I do remember her spinach soup.  It was  tomatoey, garlicky with very little meat but a lot of spinach.  I loved it and through the years my mother would make versions of it and now I make a version which is more like a stew served over rice. ( although I have added more broth and thrown the rice right into the pot for soup now and again ).  It's great comfort food for cool nights.

1  1/2 pounds lamb shoulder meat cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces
2 Tbl olive oil
A little salt and pepper to season the meat
1 very large onion, diced
4 cloves thinly sliced garlic
3 Tbl Hungarian sweet paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
One 28 ounce can whole plum tomatoes with its juice
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 tsp minced winter savory
1 pound fresh baby spinach leaves
Salt and pepper for re-seasoning
Hot cooked rice for serving

Season the lamb pieces with a little salt and pepper and brown them in a large soup pot in 1 Tbl of the olive oil in batches if necessary.  Remove the meat from the pot.
Add the other Tbl of the olive oil to the pot and saute the onion until softened and starts to pick up a bit of the browned bits from the bottom of the pot.  Add the garlic and saute another minute.
Stir in the paprika 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper and 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes.
Add the tomatoes, crushing them up with your clean hands as you go, along with the juice.  Stir with a wooden spoon to pick up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
Return the meat and any accumulated juices to the pot, bring up to the boil and then lower the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the meat is tender.
Add the parsley and savory and the add the spinach a handful at a time until it is all wilted.  Re-season with salt and pepper if desired.
Place a few spoonfuls of hot cooked rice in the bottom of your bowl and ladle some stew over.

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