Anna Mama’s Postpartum Stew

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Right before I was about to give birth to my firstborn Cypress, my dear sister friend and fairy godmother to our boys, Deborah Mahgen shared with me a Persian stew that contained fresh fenugreek. We both got so excited about this for postpartum for me! I made it right before giving birth, a huge batch with plenty for later. And immediately following Cy’s birth, it was the first thing I ate with yogurt. And I ate it throughout the first few weeks, and anytime I craved it. I still crave it. This recipe is a bit thicker than the traditional Persian version.

I have made it for many mamas through the years, you may have seen it on www.holisticsquid.com, I made it for Emily when her son was born. She and her hubby gobbled it down. These days our small town of Nevada City is experiencing a baby boom right now, so I recently made a batch for dear mama Catie. She ate a 1/2 gallon jar in a week, and immediately called me for the recipe to make more. I just made more for several more mamas who just gave birth.

So for all you mamas in our town who are about to give birth or just had your baby (two weeks ago, six months ago or even later; my boys are five and seven, and I still need to eat this stew every now and again to fortify myself), here is to your nourished postpartum body and bodacious milk supply!

This stew is full of galactagogues, lactation supportive herbs and spices, and mineral rich herbs and greens to cool the liver from the firey experience of birth. Please note: the onions and the garlic don’t seem to affect babes because they are combined with digestives spices.

It is a blend of interior warmers, digestives, blood tonics, and blood coolers. This is all so important for postpartum support. Your body is tired from the initiation of birth, and also has to kick up blood and qi production to make breast milk. Digestion will be a bit sluggish, for you now have to make milk and blood from your food. The combination of meat, herbs, spices and fats make for an easy to digest meal, that leaves a mama and her baby feeling so very satisfied. Fennel, fennugreek, ginger, cumin, and a little cinnamon, all warm the interior, consolidate the surface and aid in stoking the digestive fire. After full dilation and open vulnerability to bring baby into the world, it is good to warm and strengthen the emotional and physical body, so there is qi enough to close up the portals and seal.

I just learned from Katie De Mota at The Nest that fenugreek may be an allergen to those allergic to peanuts. Please omit this ingredient if so. The nutrient dense greens and fresh herbs are blood cleansing nourishing and cooling, and the meat nourishes the blood and essence.

These amounts will yield 5 or 6 meals, so enough to freeze for when the craving hits. And it will.

2-3lbs meat; lamb, beef or buffalo, or goat, cubed.

2 heads of celery

2 fresh bunches of the following:

fenugreek, parsley, cilantro, dill, green onions

1 bunch tarragon (optional)

1 bunch dandelion

1 onion chopped

4-6 cloves of garlic, pressed

2-3 potatoes, or parsnips, or sweet potatoes, your choice. I like it with potatoes.

1-2Tbs turmeric

1/2-1Tbsp powdered ginger

1Tbs cumin seed

1Tbs fennel seed

1-2Tbs fenugreek seed (especially if you can’t find it fresh)

1 Tbs nigella seeds, aka kalajeera in Indian markets (optional)

A little bit of ground cinnamon

Lots of olive oil, probably 1 cup total

salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, puree celery, and all the fresh green herbs. I do the celery first, then the herbs in 2 batches.

Put 3 Tbs oil in a stew pot, add onion, garlic. When onions are translucent, add seeds and spices. When seeds start popping, add meat. Sautee until browned. Add your pureed greens and more olive oil. Add your root veggies of choice. Then simmer for about half to one hour until the roots are done.

Serve with a dollop of plain sour yogurt. Eat to your heart’s and your breasts and your baby’s content.

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