A table setting with an enamel dish of spinach and minced beef. In front is a plate with the stew served over rice.

Syrian cuisine has several popular stews, or yakhni, and this spinach stew with meatballs is one of them. It is not the most elegant of dishes to look at, and, as a kid, I didn’t want to eat it for this reason. I changed my mind when my mother reminded me about spinach-eating Popeye and his bulging muscles. Now I think it’s delicious as well as nutritious! The lemon sauce goes well with it, and my mother always served it that way, though she had actually borrowed that use of lemon sauce from another dish.

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