"This is a variation on our standard family stew, which is actually a lot more exciting than it sounds. It's hearty and warming and delicious, without being heavy. And it's great to put in a thermos and head for the beach or the mountains, or just out to the backyard to eat around a firepit with some crusty bread spread with seaweed butter. It will serve about six people. The lamb is optional. You could use any great-quality, ethically sourced meat for this stew, or no meat at all." ~ Kirsten Bradley and Nick Ritar.
2 onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tbs cumin seeds
About 1kg lamb (stewing chops with the bones in are most delicious, but diced lamb is fine too)
190g (1 cup) dried kidney beans, soaked in water for 24 hours (they'll swell to about double the volume after soaking)
400g (2 cups) chopped tomatoes (or tomato passata)
6 good bits of dried or fresh kelp, chopped into small pieces (about 50g)
100g ( 2 cups) roughly chopped wild greens or English spinach
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fry your onions with a big lug of olive oil in a heavy-based pot for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Then add the garlic, cumin seeds and lamb. Stir around until the lamb is a bit browned and the cumin seeds smell amazing.
Add the drained kidney beans, tomatoes, kelp and enough water to cover everything well. Bring to a gentle boil and give it all a stir, then turn the heat right down to low, put the lid on and go and do something else for a few hours.
During this slow-cooking phase (we often do this bit in the oven, at about 150°C/300°F, check every hour or so how the beans are going, as they are the important bit – everything else will just happily cook away, getting better and better. When the beans are soft but not too mushy (about 2 hours, but this varies), turn off the heat. Stir in the wild greens or spinach, season to taste and let stand for 5 minutes to wilt the greens. Serve in bowls with crusty bread and seaweed butter.
Credits: Images and recipes from Milkwood by Kirsten Bradley and Nick Ritar, Murdoch Books, RRP $45.00 Photography by Kate Berry and Kirsten Bradley, Illustrations by Brenna Quinlan