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This thick stew of tender lamb and baby okra is a common dish in Egypt. Okra is the edible fruit pod of a plant related to the hibiscus and is used in many dishes for its thickening properties. Lamb backstrap or fillet is lean and quick and easy to use, although other cuts of lamb would work, the meat from the leg or shoulder is lovely too. The secret to this recipe is the long, slow simmering that brings the flavours gently together.
• 1 tbspclarified butter (ghee)
• 1medium onion, diced
• 2garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 500 glamb backstrap, cut into thick pieces
• 2 x 400 gtins pureed tomatoes
• 1 tbsptomato paste
• salt and pepper
• 250 mlstock or water (optional)
• 500 gbaby okra, topped and tailed
• 1lemon, juiced
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Melt the ghee in a saucepan and sauté the onion until soft, then add the garlic. Fry for a couple of minutes then add the lamb and toss until sealed and lightly browned.
Add the tomato puree and paste and season to taste with salt and pepper. If you think more liquid is needed, add the stock or water. Cover and simmer for 30–35 minutes.
Add the okra and cook for another 5–10 minutes. Add the lemon juice and remove from the heat. Serve with rice.