Why I Am Posting These Recipes

I believe that it is healthier for an individual and for the planet to reduce the consumption of animal products in the human diet. However, I love to eat all kinds of delicious food, and find it really, really difficult to go totally vegetarian. Also, my family protests if I serve too many vegetarian meals in a row. So I am committed to making an effort to move towards a vegetarian diet without wholly doing so. I will post recipes several times a week that represent my philosophy of eating well, eating healthy, eating local. Most recipes will be easy to prepare, as I have a busy life. So I expect my followers to be people who love to cook and eat well, want to try to help the planet through their eating (by eating local foods and trying to reduce the use of meat in our diets), and have many other things to do each day besides cook.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Ground Lamb with Spinach and Barley

This is a one-dish simple meal.  I had a pound of local ground lamb in my refrigerator and some beautiful fresh spinach, and I wanted to make a quick and easy meal that also incorporated whole grains.  I thought about "hamburger helper," a package of stuff that was supposed to transform a pound of hamburger into an easy complete meal when I was a child.  I thought I could do something more wholesome and just as easy using things I have in my cupboard, plus my trusty onion and garlic that go into most dinners I cook.  Use local lamb and spinach for green planet eating.  Maybe you have a local source for the other ingredients, but unfortunately I could only get the lamb and spinach from local farms.  You might want to think about planting some seeds for some of your own vegetables too!  This past week, I planted peas, spinach, kale and leeks.  We'll see how they grow.  I don't have a great track record for growing plants.  I put the seeds in year after year, but my harvests are not bountiful.  That's ok, because it allows me to keep the other farmers nearby in business!

1 lb. ground lamb
1 onion
2 TBS olive oil
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 TBS cumin
1 tsp coriander
½ cup barley
2 cups water
about 4 cups spinach, cut up
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (Reggiano Parmigiano)

Brown chopped onion in olive oil until translucent.  Add pressed garlic clove and stir quickly.  Add ground lamb, sprinkle salt and pepper over it and stir with a fork as you brown it.  Spoon off excess fat.  (I put the fat into a small bowl and then scoop it into the trash after it cools and hardens.)  Sprinkle cumin and coriander over browned meat and cook a few minutes more, stirring.  Add rinsed barley and stir into meat mixture.  Add water.  Cover and cook until barley is tender, about  40 minutes.  Stir spinach and parmesan cheese into the mixture, cover and cook a few minutes more, until spinach is wilted.  Serves 4.

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