Afghan Lamb Stew with Spinach


Afghan Lamb Stew with Spinach

Seared lamb and spinach stew is an old Afghan recipe, yet it tastes impeccably rich and modern. This meat-and-vegetable dish features a unique and zesty blend of flavors.


  • 2 1/2 lamb stew meat, preferably leg
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 onions, diced large
  • 4 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 32 ounces can tomatoes, drain and chopped
  • 1 cup rich brown veal stock or beef stock
  • 1/3 cup fresh spinach, washed and drained
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, roasted at 350 F for about 3 minutes


1. Sear lamb in the olive oil in a cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven. Add the onions, saute them for 2 minutes; then add the garlic and saute it for 1 minute. Put in the turmeric, nutmeg, cardamom, crushed red pepper and cinnamon and saute the mixture for 1 to 2 minutes more, being careful not to burn the onions or garlic.

2. Add the tomatoes and veal stock and stir. Cover the dish and bake at 350 F. for about 1 hour, until the meat is tender and begins to break up. Remove the dish from the oven and add the spinach, stirring until the spinach is wilted and blended in. Allow the stew to cool slightly. Add the yogurt, lemon peel and salt to taste. Sprinkle with roasted pine nuts.

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Such fabulous flavors! Garlic, tumeric, nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, grated lemon peel and the yoghurt brings them all together in such a wonderful way. And by just wilting the spinach means it retains flavor and slight crispness. Altogether a delightful meal for the entire family and one which I think would also lend itself to a slow cooker.

this reminds me of a similar dish we make at home but we let our stew simmer over some low heat on the stove instead of baking in an oven. If you are patient this dish is amazing served with some rice. I've always added some ginger whenever i cook with garlic, i feel it really complements it. also try sauteing the spinach with some butter and white onions ina pan add some cream in it.


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