Kapamas - Lamb In Aromatic Tomato Sauce


Kapama is the name given to many different aromatic meat stews in Greece. This particular recipe is from Evia, and I’ve included two of the island’s major agricultural products, figs and green olives. It’s a great Sunday meal.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 ½ pounds lean lamb preferably leg or shoulder, cut into stewing cubes
  • 2 large white onions peeled and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • 2 cups peeled seeded, and finely chopped tomatoes (with juice)
  • 6 to 8 allspice berries
  • 2 medium bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup dried Greek figs
  • 1 cup green or black Greek olives rinsed

For the rice:

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 1 large pinch saffron (Greek krokos Kozanis)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Instructions

  1. In a large heavy stewing pot, heat olive oil and cook lamb, turning it frequently on all sides to brown evenly and lightly. Add the onion and sauté, stirring with a wooden spoon, until wilted.
  2. “Extinguish” the pot, as the Greeks say -- deglaze, in other words -- with the brandy by pouring it into the pot. Add the tomatoes, allspice, bay leaves, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Stir well with a wooden spoon to blend. Add, if necessary, enough water just to cover the meat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 1 hour 15 minutes, or until meat is almost cooked. Add more water, if necessary, during cooking to keep mixture moist and sauce from reducing too much.
  3. About 10 minutes before meat is done, Adjust seasoning if necessary, and stir in the parsley just before removing from heat. Serve with saffron rice.

To make saffron rice:

  1. Bring 1 cup basmati or Carolina rice to a boil in 2 ½ c. salted water. Add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 large pinch of saffron. Cover and simmer for about 12 - 15 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and has absorbed all the water. Let it continue to steam in the pot for five minutes, with heat turned off. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Notes

Variation: chicken, beef and veal may also be prepared as above, kapama style, but omit the grapes. Add, if desired, a bit of hot pepper to the sauce.

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