Preparation / Directions:
Finely puree spinach, using a food processor or electric blender. Break the cinnamon into three pieces and crumble the bay leaves.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Chop tomato finely. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan over high heat until very hot. Pat the meat dry on paper towels (or it will not brown), and add. Brown the meat, turning and tossing the pieces, until nicely seared on all sides. (This is best done in batches so that the frying pan is not overcrowded. As each batch is browned, transfer to a heavy-bottomed casserole.) Add the remaining 4 tablespoons oil to the frying pan, and add onions. Reduce heat to medium-high, and fry until they turn caramel brown (about 25 minutes), stirring constantly to prevent burning. Add garlic and ginger, and fry for an additional 2 minutes. Add cumin, coriander, and turmeric, and stir rapidly for 15 seconds. Add tomatoes and chilis, and continue frying until the tomato is cooked and the entire mixture is turned into a thick pulpy paste (about 3 minutes). Add yogurt, and immediately turn off the heat. When slightly cool, puree in an electric blender or food processor, and add to the meat in the casserole.
Place a double layer of cheesecloth, about 6 inches square, on the work surface. Put cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaves in the center, bring up the four corners of the cheesecloth to wrap the spices, and tie them to form a bag. Crush the bag slightly with a wooden mallet or any heavy tool to break up the spices. Add the spice bag to the casserole.
Add 4 cups boiling water along with the salt, and stir to distribute the meat into the sauce. Place a piece of aluminum foil on top of the casserole, and cover tightly with the lid. Bring the contents to a boil on top of the stove.
Place the casserole in the middle level of the oven for 2 1/2 hours.
Remove the casserole from the oven or turn off the stove, and take off the lid. Remove the spice bag, and squeeze hard to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the bag. Add the cooked spinach and garam masala, and blend well, being careful not to break the fragile meat pieces. Cover the pot, return it to the oven and cook for 5 minutes more. Turn off the pot and let the pot remain undisturbed for an additional 10 minutes.