I have been feeling too depressed about the horrible tragedy in Beslan to write things. I don't want our blog to dry up and blow away, though, so I will give you a recipe. This is nominally a Persian recipe, but I got it from the old NYT cookbook, so we'll just have to defer to ogged on whether it's very authentic. I bet it's actually supposed to have preserved lemons. I recommend washing it down with a combination of red wine and abject gratitude that your children are safe. Yes. When you wake up in the night and panic you can go look at them, to make sure their narrow chests are rising and falling in the dim room. You can smell their heads. Still alive. When Violet was just newborn she smelled a little like lamb, which made me somewhat disinclined to eat it. Now she just smells like milk and clean things. She's sleeping on the sofa next to me right now. Zoë is sleeping on a sheepskin on the living room floor. Safe. No one can get them, because the doors are locked and I'm watching them breathe.
salt and pepper
2 lb lamb, in cubes
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 bunches italian (flat-leaf) parsley, chopped
1 bunch chives, chopped, or spring onions
1 qt chicken broth (or lamb broth, if you've really got it all together)
juice of 2 lemons
2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed in cold water (or cook half a package of kidney beans in water till tender)
1. Dry the lamb cubes on paper towels. Sear them in batches on all sides in hot olive oil in a cast-iron dutch oven or other heavy pan. Don't crowd the pan or they won't brown.
2. Set the browned lamb aside. Cook the onion in the pan, scraping up the browned bits. When it is golden, add the garlic, parsely, and chives or green onions and stir till the parsley melts down. Return lamb cubes and juices to the pot, add lemon juice and broth to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until lamb is very tender.
3. Add the drained kidney beans and cook 15 minutes more.
This is very tasty with flatbreads, baba ganouj, yogurt mixed with garlic and cucumber, and salads and whatnot. Olives. My mom and I never got to eat this as much as we wanted, because my stepdad and (I think) my brother didn't like it. Luckily for me, John likes it, so I can eat it whenever I want.