Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

The Oldest Recipe We'll Ever Publish

February 18, 1993|CHARLES PERRY

Beer was the national beverage of the ancient Babylonians. To judge from three 3,500-year-old cuneiform tablets belonging to Yale University, they often cooked with beer too. Here we try to recreate a beer and lamb recipe from the tablet known as Yale Babylonian 4644 . . . with a certain amount of guesswork, since the ancient recipes don't give many measurements and every one of them calls for one or more totally mysterious ingredients.

(This particular recipe calls for samidu and shukhutinnu , for which we substitute onions and green onions, respectively, since translator Jean Bottero suspects they were members of the onion family.) We don't really know how Babylonian beer tasted either--it may have been sweeter than ours and certainly didn't contain hops--but it would be nice to think the Babylonians enjoyed something like this hearty, earthy dish.

TUH'U (Babylonian Beer and Lamb Stew) 1 pound lamb meat, preferably from leg 1 teaspoon salt 1 (12-ounce) bottle dark beer 1 onion, coarsely chopped 1 bunch Swiss chard, washed and coarsely chopped 1 quart water, about 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, ground or coarsely crushed 1 teaspoon ground cumin 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 1 leek, cleaned, trimmed, coarsely chopped Chopped cilantro Minced green onions

Cut lamb into chunks and place in medium soup pot. Add salt, beer, onion, Swiss chard and enough water to cover. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Skim off fat. Add coriander seeds, cumin, garlic and leek. Simmer until meat is tender, about 1 hour.

To serve, ladle into bowls and season to taste with cilantro and green onions. Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about: 190 calories; 685 mg sodium; 54 mg cholesterol; 4 grams fat; 13 grams carbohydrates; 19 grams protein; 1.25 grams fiber.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|