Green Bean Bredie (South Africa)

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2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1- pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1 x 2-inch chunks
1 cup coarsely chopped onions
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon scraped, finely chopped fresh gingerroot
cup water
1 pound fresh green string beans, trimmed, washed, and cut diagonally into 1-inch lengths
2 medium-sized boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into -inch dice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh hot chilies (use caution)
teaspoon crumbled, dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

In a heavy 12-inch skillet, heat the oil over moderate heat until a light haze forms above it. Add the lamb and brown it a few pieces at a time, turning frequently with a slotted spoon and regulate heat so that they color richly and evenly without burning. As the lamb browns, transfer the pieces to a plate.

Pour off and discard all but about 2 tablespoons of fat from the skillet and drop in the onions, garlic and ginger root. Stirring frequently and scraping in any brown particles that cling to the bottom and sides of the pan, cook over moderate heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the onions are soft and golden brown. Watch carefully for any sign of burning, and regulate heat.

Return the meat, along with any liquid that has accumulated around it, to the skillet. Then reduce the heat to the lowest possible point, cover tightly, and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the water, green beans, potatoes, chilies, thyme, salt and a few grindings of pepper, and bring to a boil. Cover again, reduce the heat to low and, stirring occasionally, continue simmering for about 1 hour, or until the lamb and vegetables are tender, but still intact.

Taste for seasonings and serve at once, mounded on a heated platter. Green Bean Bredie is traditionally served accompanied by hot boiled rice.

Serves 4