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This mixed meat stew is the national dish of Madagascar. The trick here is to cook all the different types of meat so that they are perfectly done at the same time. This is accomplished by adding them at different points in the process. Be warned: Until you add the spices and seasonings to the stew, your house will smell like a farm, as my niece was quick to point out to me.

1 tablespoon peanut oil (we used vegetable oil)
1 pound stewing beef, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 pound fresh pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch chunks
3 whole chicken breasts, split and cut into serving-size pieces
6 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped (We're lazy. We didn't peel or seed.)
2 medium-size onions, coarsely chopped
7 cloves garlic, minced (we used garlic powder to taste)
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, scraped and cut into thin julienne (we used ground ginger seasoning to taste)
1 pound fresh spinach leaves, washed and shredded (we used canned)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

(We also added a chopped green pepper and 1 stalk of celery, chopped.)

Heat the oil in heavy saucepan or stockpot and sear the beef without browning it. Add water to cover, bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

Add the pork and continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes. Add the chicken pieces and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking until they are incorporated into the sauce.

Add the onion, garlic and ginger and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, or until they are cooked but still slightly chewy. Finally, add the spinach, season with salt and pepper and stir until the leaves are wilted and just cooked. Serve hot with white rice. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Tester's note: As a leftover, we added tomato sauce to the stew for extra flavoring.

"The Africa Cookbook: Tastes of a Continent"

Thursday, January 13, 2000

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