I had a lot of apples on hand when contemplating the next set of dishes to cook. This recipe (both of them) had been on my list to do. This is a very simple dish that just requires having everything on hand…like apples, meat and spices.
One note, I did change the “Intensly sour apples” to firm sweet apples i.e. honeycrisps or pink ladies. Both of these apples keep their shape and wonderful flavor during and after cooking.
Meat with Apples
1st translation – According to another recipe, not the one given earlier. Fry meat, after boiling it, in melted fat with spices. Then take strongly sour apples and peel them and take out their seeds, and cut them up medium. Then throw the apples in the pot or the frying pan, after taking it up, for a good while. And when they soften and it is done. It is left on a quiet fire and it is taken up.
(Perry, pp. 352)
2nd translation – Put meat into the pot. Peel apples and cut them up and put them in it. Then sweeten it. (…similarly to Safarjaliyya)
(Perry, pp. 471)
2 lbs cubed stew meat (beef, venison, goat etc)
4 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1” cubes (sweet or sour)
1 tsp ea of ground: thyme, cumin, coriander, pepper, cinnamon, ginger, saffron, tumeric
1 Tbs. sesame oil
***optional: 1 tsp honey per serving
I cut up stew meat into manageable bite sized pieces, laid out the spices to be used, and the apple chunks.
I have held the theory that meals that were eaten with bread or hands did not have the luxury/opportunity for the eater to take a piece of meat, cut it up then eat. What was taken was probably eaten and a conversation could not be had over a meal if the participants could not talk while chewing manageable cubes of meat. That’s just my theory though and why I cut up stew meat into bite sized pieces.
The cubed beef was placed in a pot of water (just enough to come to the top edge of the meat) and cooked thoroughly for about 20 minutes.
The water will cook down as will the meat. However the 20 – 30 minutes of cooking makes the meat tender and less chewy. Many of the recipes would normally say to skim off the foam however this recipe is unique in not mentioning skimming at all.
Once the beef has been cooked, any excess juice was drained off before placing the cubed cooked meat into a medium pan with the sesame oil. Spices are then added.
1 tsp of spices for 2lbs of meat may sound like a lot; however we are also cooking the meat and apples, so don’t be afraid that the spices are going to over power the meat. Everything blends very well together once the apples have been added.
After the spices have been stirred into the meat, the apple slices are added.
Everything is mixed well, with the spices coating the meat and apples evenly and allowed to cook till the apples are soft. Roughly 15 minutes. I did add a 1/2 a cup of water after the meat and apples had absorbed the sesame oil, then covered the pan to allow the resulting steam to help cook the apples.
After the apples have soften, the meat and apples are served in a bowl. Honey can be added to sweeten the flavor if desired. I like the flavor with out the honey; the honey adds just a touch of sweetness that compliments the apples with the spices very well. The honey is up to the personal taste on whether to have a sweet or savory dish.