I was visiting a friend recently who raved about Tessa Kiros' cook book Falling Cloudberries. I had owned this but after cooking 2 spectacular failures I donated the book to the 2MBS book fair. My friend persuaded me to give Tess aother try, and I found this recipe for her Tava (Lamb and Potato stew) on the 'net (I also bought the book again!)
I've got several versions of this recipe, ranging from Rick Steyne's (Mediterranean food), one in the Taverner's Hill (school) cookbook, Ninth Night Lamb from the net, Roman Lamb Stew from the Silver Spoon, Greek Lamb Stew from Nigella, and countless others. But this has to be the best one I have ever tasted.
Tava (Cypriot Baked Lamb and Potatoes with Cumin and Tomatoes)
adapted from Falling Cloudberries
2 red onions, chopped roughly
2lb 12 oz new potatoes, quartered
2lb 4oz lamb, cut into chunks
4 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
3 teaspoons cumin seeds, lightly crushed
1/2 cup olive oil
4-5 ripe tomatoes, sliced
2-3 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 180C. Put the onion, potatoes, and lamb in a large roasting pan or baking dish. Season (generously) with salt and pepper, then add parsley, cumin and olive oil. Using your hands, mix everything up well. Place the sliced tomatoes on top of mixture, season lightly with salt and pepper, and then dot with butter.
Pour about a 1/2 cup of water around the edge of the pan. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, tilting every once in a while to distribute the juices. Remove the foil and increase the oven temperature to 200. Cook for another 45 minutes or longer, until the tomatoes and potatoes are golden browned and the liquid has all but evaporated. This is delicious served hot or at room temperature.
We loved it so much we ate almost the whole tin!!