“This wholesome dish makes for a beautiful (and achievable) centrepiece. It’s also best refrigerated overnight and served the next day, so perfect for make-ahead meals. Eat it on its own or with creamy mashed potatoes. You can make it in a cake tin, but I used a frying pan. And yes! It can be baked in the air-fryer at 180°C for 10 minutes.” – Khanya Mzongwana
- 15 spinach, large leaves
- canola oil, for frying
- 4 T extra virgin olive oil
- 500 g lamb mince
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 celery stick, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 T Woolworths hot seasoning 1 T
- 1 t Spanish smoked paprika
- 2 t cumin seeds
- 1 t ground cinnamon
- 1 t ground coriander
- 50 g tomato paste
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 250 g spelt
- 3 large free-range eggs, beaten
- 2 slices bread, soaked in 1⁄3 cup milk
1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Remove the large vein from the spinach leaves and prepare a large bowl of iced water. Quickly blanch each leaf for 30 seconds, then submerge in the iced water.
2. Remove the spinach leaves from the iced water and place on a plate. Gently pat dry using kitchen paper. Pour a thin layer of canola oil into a frying pan and arrange the leaves in the pan in a fan-like fashion, reserving some leaves. Make sure the spinach leaves hang over the edge of the pan. Set aside.
3. Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Fry the lamb mince over a high heat until browned, breaking it up using a wooden spoon. Season and add the onion, carrot and celery. Fry for a further 5 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened and caramelised slightly.
4. Add the garlic and fry for a minute, then add the hot seasoning, paprika, cumin, cinnamon and coriander. Stir in the tomato paste, then add the stock. Cook, stirring often, for up
to 10 minutes over a medium heat.
5. Once the liquid has reduced, stir in the spelt and cook for a further few minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the eggs and milk- soaked bread.
6. Spoon about half the lamb mixture into the spinach-lined pan, then top with a layer of reserved spinach leaves. Add the remaining lamb and fold the spinach leaves over the top layer.
7. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Brush the top of the farci with a bit of olive oil. Cover with foil, place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature, then chill overnight. When ready to serve, heat in the oven for 12–15 minutes at 160°C. Slice into wedges and serve warm.
Cook's note: You can use beef, pork or even chicken mince for this recipe, or substitute the meat with the same quantity of finely chopped mushrooms. The spinach leaves can also be replaced with cabbage. You can also make this in the air-fryer.
Photograph: Myburgh Du Plessis
Production: Khanya Mzongwana
Food assistant: Thalia Pillay