Friday, February 19, 2010

World Recipe Fridays - Afghanistan

It's been a while since my last post, and I apologize for that.
Unfortunately, I've been having a rough past two weeks and haven't had time to sit down and post. I also haven't had much time on my computer because of my commitment to organization and time management for the month of February, as I've been focusing more intently on my schoolwork and reading instead of time on the computer.
However, I feel that keeping this updated is important and should be part of my commitment to organization and time management, and therefore I am refocusing my efforts to include my blog.

I've also decided that I am going to designate Fridays as World Recipe days.

Each week I am going to post a recipe from a country of the world. I'll be trying to keep the recipes as authentic as possible. I'll determine which countries I choose from an alphabetical list of independent recognized nations according to That way if you are interested to know which recipe I will be covering each week, you can follow along from the list I've included here.

The first country I'll be covering is:

Afghanistan is located in the Middle East, or South Central Asia. It is a landlocked country, and it is bordered by Iran in the west, Pakistan in the south and east, TurkmenistanUzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, and China in the far northeast. 

Afghan cuisine is largely reflective of its chief crops, including wheat, barley and rice. It also includes dairy products like yogurt and whey, various nuts, vegetables and fresh and dried fruits. There is emphasis on seasoning, but typically the food is neither too spicy or too bland. Lamb and chicken are the two most popular meats when available, but are typically consumed by more affluent citizens, as it is expensive, and domesticated animals are valued more for the products they produce like eggs and dairy rather than slaughtering them for meat. Rice dishes are the most widely consumed dishes.

Afghani Lamb with Spinach Stew

  • 2 and 1/2 lb lamb stew meat (preferably leg)

  • 1/3 cup of olive oil

  • 3/4 lb  of onions (diced large)

  • 4 ts of chopped garlic

  • 2 ts of turmeric

  • 1/4 ts of nutmeg

  • 1/4 ts of ground cardamom

  • 1 ts of crushed red pepper (or to your taste if you like it spicier or more bland)

  • 1/2 ts of cinnamon

  • 32 oz of can tomatoes (drain & chop)

  • 1 cup of rich brown veal stock OR 1 cup of rich beef stock

  • 1/3 lb of fresh spinach (wash & drain)

  • 1/2 cup of yogurt

  • 1 tb of grated lemon peel

  • salt (add as much or as little as you see fit, depending on your taste)

  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts (roasted at 350 F. for about 3 minutes)

  • Sear the lamb in the olive oil in a cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven. 
    Add the onions and saute them for 2 minutes.
    Then add the garlic and saute it for 1 minute. 
    Put in the turmeric, nutmeg, cardamom, crushed red pepper and cinnamon and saute the mixture for 1 to 2 minutes more, being careful not to burn the onions or garlic. 
    Add the tomatoes and veal stock and stir.Cover the dish and bake at 350 F. 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.
    Add the yogurt, lemon peel and salt to your liking.
    Sprinkle with the roasted pine nuts.

    Approximately 4 servings.

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