Recipe for Bamia (Baked Molded Okra And Beef)


1 1/2 lb okra, fresh
4 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon butter; softened
1/2 cup onion; finely chopped
1 lb hamburger, lean; prefer
1 ; chuck
1 teaspoon garlic; finely chopped
6 tablespoon tomato puree; canned
2 cup beef stock; fresh or canned
1 teaspoon salt
1 black pepper; freshly ground
1 lemon wedges


Wash the fresh okra under cold running water, and with a small, sharp knife, scrape the skin lightly to remove any surface fuzz. Cut 1/8 inch off the stem at the narrow end of each pod. In a heavy 10 to 12 inch skillet, melt 2 table spoons of butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the okra and, stirring frequently, cook for about 5 minutes until it stops "roping," or producing thin white threads. with a slotted spoon, transfer the okra to paper towels to drain. Pour off the fat remaining in the skillet, add 2 more tablespoons of butter and melt it over moderate heat. Drop in the onions and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are soft and lightly browned. Add the meat, mashing it with the back of the spoon to break up any lumps, and cook until all traces of pink disappear. stir in the garlic, tomato puree, 1 cup of the stock, the salt and a few grindings of pepper. Cook briskly uncovered until most of the liquid in the pan has evaporated and the mixture is thick enough to hold its shape almost solidly in the spoon. Remove from the heat. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (F). with a pastry brush coat the bottom and sides of a circular baking dish 7 or 8 inches in diameter and about 3 inches deep with the tablespoons of softened butter. spoon half the meat mixture into the casserole, smoothing and spreading it to the edges with a spatula. Arrange the okra over the meat, placing the pieces closely together side by side in a spoke like pattern with the cut ends facing out. Spread the remaining meat mixture evenly over the okra, masking it completely, and sprinkle over it the remaining stock. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, cover tightly with a lid or foil and bake in the middle of the oven for about 1 hour. (Check the casserole occasionally, and if the top seems dry pour in up to cup more stock, a few tablespoons at a time.) Cook the bamia uncovered for 5 minutes, then unmold it in the following fashion: Run a long, sharp knife around the inside edges of the casserole, place a heated serving plate upside down over the top and, grasping the casserole and plate together firmly, invert them. The bamia should slide out easily. Serve garnished with lemon wedges.

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