Lamb and rice stew (Arni me risi anatoliki)

A festive dish, with hints of eastern spices….the lamb may be replaced by chicken

100 ml olive oil

2 shallots, chopped fine

300 g fresh spinach, chopped

½ cup dill, chopped fine

1 cup cilantro, chopped fine

1 cup parsley, chopped fine

2 Tablespoons butter

2 onions, chopped

1 kg lamb or chicken, chopped into pieces

salt and pepper

2 l hot water

500 g basmati rice

1 piece cinnamon

2 Tablespoons dried fenugreek or ½ cup fresh

6 saffron threads

6 pods cardamom, crushed

2 large potatoes, diced

seeds of 1 pomegranate


In a large cooking pot, heat half the olive oil, add shallots and sauté briefly. Add the spinach and the chopped green herbs (reserve a bit of parsley and cilantro to decorate at the end), allow to wilt while stirring constantly on medium heat. Remove from the heat and reserve.

Heat the rest of the oil with the butter in another deep, heavy-bottomed pot and fry the onions and meat until browned. Season with salt and pepper and add enough hot water to cover. Cook about 1 hour, stirring occasionally and making sure there is enough water to prevent scorching. Add rice, cinnamon stick, fenugreek, saffron, cardamon, potatoes and the cooked greens. Add about 1 l warm water, cover and cook gently for about 20 minutes. Remove the lid, and cook another 5-10 minutes until liquid has evaporated. Serve with the pomegranate seeds, and top with the reserved parsley and cilantro.

If wished, the potatoes can be replaced by cooked white beans or chickpeas.