This recipe goes waaay back to 1983, when NPR debuted a new 10-part radio drama based on The Empire Strikes Back. Craig Claiborne was invited to create his own tasty version of "rootleaf," a succulent dish featured in both the film and radio versions. If you remember, "rootleaf" was prepared for Luke Skywalker by Yoda, the ancient Jedi Master.
YODA'S INCREDIBLE HERB STEW
by Craig Claiborne
3 pounds lean lamb or other meat
Salt to taste, if desired
Freshly ground pepper to taste
6 tablespoons light or vegetable or other oil
6 cups finely chopped parsley
3 cups thinly sliced onions
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons finely minced ginger root
1 teaspoon finely chopped seeded hot green or red chilies
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 bay leaf
3 pounds fresh spinach, well rinsed and tough stems removed.
1. Cut the meat into one inch cubes, and add salt and pepper to taste.
2. Heat half the oil in a heavy skillet and add the meat, turning to brown the pieces on all sides.
3. Heat the remaining oil in a Dutch oven or heavy casserole and add parsley, onions and garlic. Cook, stirring often until the onions are wilted. Add the meat, coriander, cumin, turmeric, ginger root, chilies, cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir.
4. Add water to cover, bring to boil and cover tightly. Let simmer about 2 to 2 1/2 hours until the meat is quite tender.
5. Meanwhile, drop the spinach into a kettle of boiling water with salt to taste and let simmer about five minutes. Drain well and run under cold water. Drain thoroughly.
6. Squeeze the spinach to remove all excess liquid. Place the spinach on a chopping block and chop coarsely.
7. Add the spinach to the stew and stir. Let simmer together about five minutes.
Yield: Eight servings.