Spinach with rice can be made with or without meat, it’s the garlic and the fresh coriander which make this such a popular Lebanese dish. Sadly the photograph doesn’t do this dish justice, it is comforting and so simple to make. It requires a fair mountain of spinach. You’ll need to find the large, dark green leaves, not salad spinach. Wash them briefly, keeping the stalks, but chop them roughly so that they wilt easily.
Once the spinach has reduced in size, in a separate frying pan, gently fry the garlic and chopped coriander leaves in some Zejd extra virgin olive oil. Adding this to the stew right at the end, and allowing the aromas to infuse in the spinach pan, gives a wonderful flavour to the dish. The extra pan is well worth the extra washing up! In our house, we serve this with Lebanese rice – which is rice cooked with vermicelli, gently fried in oil and butter. But feel free to serve it with plain rice or bulgur wheat. Just before eating, squeeze some lemon juice into the pan, a little bit of sharpness works so well with spinach. It heats up well the next day if there are any leftovers.
1 tbsp Zejd extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
250g lamb mince
750g spinach, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground all spice
1/4 tsp nutmeg, grated
1/4 tsp black pepper freshly ground
pinch of cayenne
2 tbsp Zejd extra virgin olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed with a little salt
25g coriander leaves, roughly chopped
lemon to taste
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan, and add the onion. Allow to soften for a couple of minutes before adding the mince. You don’t want the onions to brown.
- Add the mince, breaking it up as it browns. Scatter over the spices, salt and pepper, stir well. Leave to cook for about 4 minutes.
- The spinach needs to be added in batches, stirring in between each addition, adding in more when the leaves have wilted. Once all of the spinach is in the pan, stir well and put the lid on. There should be enough water in the leaves, you may need to add a little if the liquid has evaporated. Turn the heat down to low and leave to cook for about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, warm 2 tablespoons of Zejd extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan, then add the garlic. Move around the pan until all is fragrant, then add the coriander. Stir well, making sure the garlic doesn’t get stuck on the bottom of the pan or burn. After a minute this should look soft, and can now be added to the spinach pan. Leave the lid on for a couple of minutes to allow the garlic and coriander to infuse the pan of spinach.
- Before serving, taste and check for seasoning. Squeeze a little lemon juice into the pan and stir.
Serve on top of rice or bulgur wheat.