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Bamya (Meat and Okra Stew)
Serves 4

2 lb beef or lamb cut into 1" cubes
2 onions finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 cup tomatoes peeled, seeded and chopped
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup beef stock or water or more as needed
2 Tbsp fresh mint chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1.5 lb okra
juice of 1 lemon

Okra must be cooked so that its slimy texture is eliminated. The
Greeks have the best technique for achieving this. Trim the conical
tops with a sharp knife then soak the okra in red wine vinegar
(Khall) for 30 minutes allowing 1/2 cup of vinegar per pound.
Drain, rinse and dry the okra and proceed with the recipe. This
dish is popular throughout the Middle East and can be prepared with
lamb or beef. Serve with rice.

Preheat an oven to 325F/165C. In a large frying pan over medium-high
heat, warm 1 Tbsp butter or oil per serving. Working in batches,
add the meat and fry, turning, until browned on all sides - about
10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon transfer to a baking dish or
stew pot. Add the onions to the fat remaining in the frying pan
and saute over medium heat until tender and translucent - 8-10
minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, tomatoes, tomato paste,
stock and mint. Stir well. Pour over the meat and season to taste
with salt and pepper. Cover and bake until all the liquid is
absorbed - about 1.5 hours. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Meanwhile prepare the okra as directed in the note above. In a
saute pan over medium heat warm 1/2 Tbsp butter or oil. Add the
okra and saute for 3 minutes, stirring gently. Remove the stew
from the oven and arrange the okra on top in a spoked pattern.
Sprinkle the lemon juice evenly over the surface. Recover the dish
and return it to the oven. Bake for 35 minutes longer. Add stock
or water if the mixture seems too dry. Serve the Bamia stew piping


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