The world’s oldest-known recipes decoded

zaphfrans

Ingredients:1 lb leg of mutton, diced½ c rendered sheep fat1 small onion, chopped½ tsp salt1 lb beetroot, peeled and diced1 c rocket, chopped½ c fresh coriander, chopped1 c Persian shallot, chopped1 tsp cumin seeds1 c beer (a mix of sour beer & German Weißbier)½ c water½ c leek, chopped2 garlic […]

Ingredients:
1 lb leg of mutton, diced
½ c rendered sheep fat
1 small onion, chopped
½ tsp salt
1 lb beetroot, peeled and diced
1 c rocket, chopped
½ c fresh coriander, chopped
1 c Persian shallot, chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 c beer (a mix of sour beer & German Weißbier)
½ c water
½ c leek, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

For the garnish:
½ c fresh coriander, finely chopped
½ c kurrat (or spring leek), finely chopped
2 tsp coriander seeds, coarsely crushed

Instructions: Heat sheep fat in a pot wide enough for the diced lamb to spread in one layer. Add lamb and sear on high heat until all moisture evaporates. Fold in the onion and keep cooking until it is almost transparent. Fold in salt, beetroot, rocket, fresh coriander, Persian shallot and cumin. Keep on folding until the moisture evaporates. Pour in beer, and then add water. Give the mixture a light stir and then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add leek and garlic. Allow to simmer for about an hour until the sauce thickens.

Pound kurrat and remaining fresh coriander into a paste using a mortar and pestle. Ladle the stew into bowls and sprinkle with coriander seeds and kurrat and fresh coriander paste. The dish can be served with steamed bulgur, boiled chickpeas and bread.

Source: Food in Ancient Mesopotamia, Cooking the Yale Babylonian Culinary Recipes, with permission from co-author and translator Gojko Barjamovic.

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