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Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Post the Sixty-first (in which the world breathes a sigh of relief)

Let's admit it, we didn't all trust them to do the right thing.  We all, in our deepest, darkest heart of hearts feared that they'd elect Romney and his bible-bashing, gun-toting, get-thee-into-the-kitchen-woman-thinking ilk.  We despaired for female reproductive choice, gay rights and myriad other "liberal" causes (although quite frankly, I don't see what's liberal about basic human rights).  But the American people came through for us.  They did the right thing.  Well, just over half of them did, anyway, and the joys of democracy being what they are, that was enough.  The world is safe(ish) for four more years.

The "average" American (if there is such a thing) may well wonder what the hell the world's obsession with their presidential election is about.  I've noticed a certain "Mind your own business, y'all" mentality in certain conservative circles.  But the reason the world has a vested interest in what happened yesterday is that the foreign policy decided by POTUS has a direct knock-on effect on the rest of the globe, and pretty much nobody else in the entire rest of the world wanted a trigger-happy cowboy sitting in the Oval Office.  Not to mention one who was so backward-thinking in terms of equality, women's rights and pretty much everything else that he made Dubya look like a Nobel laureate.  I'm not sure where this race to the bottom in US conservative politics is stemming from, but it's very, very concerning to onlookers.

Interestingly, had this been a global election, Obama would have been returned by a landslide.  Observe; Americans - the entire rest of the world can't be wrong.

When you think about it, it's rather amazing that the entire world can be more or less polarised by a contest between just two men, but that's what happens when you give a country with a population of 315-odd million a two-party political system.  It's absolute madness, but not a system I can see changing any time soon.

Anyway, in honour of the fact that all anyone is going to be talking about for the next few days is the good ole U.S. of A, here's a veh veh tasty American recipe (adapted from Jamie Oliver) for you to take a stab at.  It's actually native American - Navajo - cause that's just how I roll...

Navajo Lamb Stew - serves 6

800g lamb shoulder, diced                              2 onions, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, peeled & chopped                  2 sticks celery, trimmed & chopped
2 tsps cumin seed                                            Tin chopped tomatoes
2 beef stock cubes                                          2 sweet potatoes, peeled & diced
2 tsp chilli flakes                                             Tin kidney beans, drained & rinsed
Salt & pepper

1. Heat a little oil in a large pot or cast-iron casserole and brown your lamb all over.  Add the carrots, celery, onions and 1 tsp of the cumin seed and fry for about 15 minutes, til just about coloured.  Stir in the tomatoes and stock cubes, then add another two tins' worth of water.

2. Sprinkle over a teaspoon of chilli flakes, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer really gently for about an hour and a half to two hours.  Check on it every so often to make sure it's not drying out.

3. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 180.  Toss your sweet potatoes (the dice should be quite rough and large) in a drop of oil and rub in the other teaspoons of cumin seed and chilli flakes.  Pop into the oven and roast for about 20 minutes, or until they're just easily pierced with a knife.  Remove and set aside.

4. After about an hour and a half, test your stew.  Is the lamb falling apart?  Great.  Is the liquid consistency just right?  Is the seasoning perfect?  Great.  Bung in the sweet potato and the kidney beans, heat through, check the seasoning again and serve with flatbreads.

I actually think a little sumac would be great in this, but it can be very, very hard to get in Dublin.  If anyone comes across it on their travels, buy it and send it this way.


  1. I too was breathing a sigh of relief...thank goodness!!!

  2. Fair commentary on our election Eimear, though it is a lot more complex than that, and a good recipe - I do consulting work with the Navajo Nation and one little secret will serve you well for this dish; add more cumin at the end, the flavor tends to disappear during extended cooking
    Ya ta a' ey
    and Sláinte

  3. Hence the "check seasoning" admonition, Terry!

  4. I spotted Sumac in Superquinn in Sutton this week.