Najwa's Okra Stew
- SERVINGS: 6 TO 8
Najwa Rawda is a Lebanese home cook of wonderful elegance and sophisticationshe shops on Madison Avenue almost as regularly as she does along Beirut's Hamra. She is superbly gifted in the kitchen, as her family readily attests. This stew and her Fried Potatoes with Cilantro are surprisingly simple family favorites.
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound very lean veal shank meat, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, 2 chopped and 2 minced
- 1 cup drained canned tomatoes, chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds okra, sliced on the diagonal 1 inch thick
- 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- Heat the oil in a large enameled cast-iron casserole. Season the veal with salt and pepper and add half of the meat to the casserole. Cook over moderately high heat until nicely browned all over; transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining meat.
- Add the onions and the chopped garlic to the casserole, reduce the heat to low and cook until the onions are softened, about 8 minutes. Return the meat to the casserole and add the tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups of water. Cover partially and simmer until the veal is tender, about 25 minutes.
- Stir in the okra and enough water to just cover the meat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, then uncover and cook until the liquid reduces slightly, about 10 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and the cilantro and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
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