Juggling with different cuisines is not a bad thing. You always end up with ideas that may not come to the mind of someone who is always cooking from one specific register. Here, I am using an ingredient that one finds in Persian/Iranian cuisine, and inserting it into our Lebanese spinach stew effortlessly (and happily).
The ingredient in question is named zereshk aka barberries. I had some leftover from making some Iranian rice pilaf and thought their tangy and sweet-fruity flavor would go well with my quick and easy spinach stew. It did!! I just had to prep them a bit and add them to the stew.
Sweet and savory spinach stewJoumana Accad Mediterranean, Middle Eastern October 17, 2021 Main Dish, Meats, stew, lebanesefood, spinach, barberries,
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
1/2 lb ground beef or lamb
10 oz fresh baby spinach (organic if possible)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 dried barberries (can substitute cranberries), washed and drained
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or clarified butter
1/4 tsp ground black pepper or cinnamon or allspice
- Brown the beef in a large deep skillet over medium heat, breaking the large clumps of meat into small pellets with a couple of wooden spoons or a meat mallet. While the meat is cooking, mash the garlic with some salt until pasty in a mortar, and add it to the meat along with some pepper or spice of your choice (I like cinnamon or allspice).
- Remove the meat with a large perforated spoon and transfer to a bowl. Add the barberries to the skillet with some olive oil or clarified butter and a dash of sugar. Stir-fry a bit until the berries are softened. Add the spinach with a couple tablespoons of water and cover the skillet for 5 minutes or until the spinach is wilted. Add the meat back into the skillet and combine the mixture. Cook a few more minutes if needed to meld the flavors and serve right away.
NOTE: I like to serve this dish with some labneh and bread on the side. I find that it is a nice departure from the traditional rice especially if one does not feel like cooking a pot of rice!
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