Lamb & Okra StewHow are you, with okra? This is a vegetable that comes with an unfortunate divisiveness, I’m sorry to say. I’m OK with it (and so is my family). “What’s not to like?,” I ask. It’s a great, green vegetable, with a bite/texture similar to cooked string beans. This Iraqi recipe for “Lamb & Okra Stew” is simple enough to try. The most “exotic” ingredient might be the pomegranate syrup, which I went ahead and swapped with date molasses (no problem). After cooking my stew in my beloved Dutch oven, I served it over buckwheat groats (rather than rice), which soaked up the thin sauce and brought a welcome, earthy heartiness to the stew.

This was my first dance with lamb shanks: slightly intimidating hunks of meat and bone. I first simmered my meat for 45 minutes, then measured the remaining water to return only 4 cups to the pot, along with the garlic, tomato paste, salt, date molasses, and okra. Then, I simmered the stew for 50 more minutes, until the sauce was “somewhat rich and thickened.” Of course, everything in the pot softened. I added more salt at the end.

For the buckwheat groats (kasha), I rinsed 1 cup of kasha and boiled it in 2 cups of water. I simmered it for 15 minutes, then let it sit covered in its pot for 10 minutes and threw in a few chopped scallions. As I said, kasha is a wonderful, ample grain that sits nicely with a hearty stew such as this.

Lamb Shanks & Lamb Loin Chop (2.46 lbs.) = $21.47
Fresh Okra (1 lb.) = $2.26

PREP TIME: enjoy the stew after less than 2 hours of cooking
rich lamb is supported by a slightly sweetened, tomatoey sauce, while the long-cooked okra adds to the satisfying thickness of the stew

Next time, I will make Jamie Oliver’s “Turkey & Sweet Leek Pie,” which involves puff pastry and roasted chestnuts. This should be fun. Come back to my site soon, to witness my adventure.