This recipe is Sephardi; the flavours of turmeric and lemon amongst its ingredients reflect its Syrian origin. It’s a perfect meal for a nippy autumn lunch or supper. Less expensive cuts of lamb were used, and by adding the peas and olives, smaller amounts of meat went a long way. Economic needs and large numbers of mouths to feed made stews like this very popular. They were often enjoyed with pita bread to mop up the tasty juices. The slow gentle cooking transforms the meat into succulent tender pieces and the visual impact of the yellow and green ingredients make it most impressive.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes; Cooking Time: 2 hours 15 minutes. Serves: 6 people
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/4 pound shoulder of lamb – cubed
2 onions – peeled and finely chopped
2 teaspoons turmeric
Freshly ground black pepper – to taste
2 cups beef stock (there is a popular kosher brand packed in vacuum boxes available in many kosher markets, so you may not need to cook your own from scratch)
Juice of 2 lemons
½ pound spinach – roughly chopped
4 sticks of celery – finely chopped
8 scallions – finely chopped
1-¼ cups green olives – pitted and rinsed
2 cups frozen or fresh peas
2 tablespoons fresh dill – finely chopped
Garnish: 1 lemon – sliced, Sprigs of fresh dill
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pot. Brown the lamb cubes and onions.
2. Add the turmeric, freshly ground black pepper and salt. Pour over the beef stock and lemon juice. Add the celery and scallions. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 2 hours.
3. Add the olives, peas, spinach and fresh dill. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
4. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.
To serve the stylish way, ladle hot stew over rice or cous cous and garnish with slices of lemon and sprigs of fresh dill.