This recipe comes from my friend Asma’s mother, Halime. It is from her native village of Omarli in Turkey, where she was born some 95 years ago. It is Kurdish in origin. Fresh almonds in Lebanon are either consumed as a snack or brined. I was quizzing Halime on her life there, a rural area full of grapevines and almond trees, she remembered this stew and Asma and I decided to try it out.
Fresh almonds when cooked lose their crunch and the stew has a bit of a sour flavor, but it is pleasant and something different to try if you are in the mood and have some extra fresh almonds. It is straightforward, but requires some time prepping the almonds. I like it with fresh bread (wish I could have sampled it with the Kurdish homemade nan), like pita (called here Arabic bread) or some couscous.
Green almond stew
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Passive Time: 30 minutes
2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
1 pound ground lamb or other meat
2 large onions chopped
1 1/2 pound fresh green almonds
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt to taste
1 teaspoon cinnamon to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper or white pepper
1 pound peeled, chopped tomatoes or substitute a large 14 oz can
1/4 cup tomato paste if the tomatoes are not that flavorful
1. Cut off the ends of the almonds and slice them down the middle. Set them aside.
2. Panfry the onion and meat till the meat is browned, adding the spices at the end. Drain the extra fat. Add the tomatoes, almonds and about 11/2 cup of water to the pot.
3. Bring to a simmer and let it stew half covered for about 30 minutes or until the almonds are tender but still firm. Taste to adjust seasoning. Serve warm with bread or a starch.
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