Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Most Delicious Lamb Stew Ever. Seriously.

Okay, people.  I don't say this lightly.  But...  this might be one of the most delicious things I've ever made. It will definitely become a signature recipe of mine.  I kind of don't want to share, but it would just be cruel to deny it to the world.

It all started with a trip the grocery store.  I love lamb, so I always keep a look out for any specials.  This particular week they had a surplus of lamb stew meat.  It's not something you always see in stores, maybe a puny packet now and then, but this week they had pounds of it behind the butcher counter.  As the butcher wrapped up my order, my mind was racing with ideas.  As I finished my shopping, I made sure to grab potential ingredients.

When I got home I had a general idea of what I wanted to make, but I still wanted to look around online for some guidance.  There were many recipes that looked good, but nothing that was quite right.  Instead, I picked a few ideas I liked and decided to wing it.

I know this recipe looks long and complicated, but I promise you it's not so bad.  Do note that this is a rather thick stew without much liquid.  You could add more broth if you wanted, but I really liked the consistency.  As listed below, this makes a solid five servings.  And now, without further ado, the lamb stew!

Ingredients (do all of your chopping at once to get it done with, then add to pot as needed):

  • 1/2 pound lamb stew meat chunks
  • 2 medium onions, about two cups thinly sliced (I used one sweet and one yellow, but you could use both of the same kind)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 tsp. each of cinnamon, pepper, thyme, oregano, cumin; 1/4 tsp. allspice; salt to taste (start with 1/2 tsp and go from there)
  • dash red wine (optional)
  • 1/3 c. warm water with generous pinch of saffron added, allowed to sit to infuse for five minutes (optional)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1 small turnip (I used the purple top kind), peeled and chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped (I used a fat, ugly carrot and I thought it was much more flavorful than baby carrots.  Also, don't peel it, just scrub the outside lean.)
  • 6 dried figs, stemmed, 1/4" dice (Optional, but highly delicious.  Dried apricots would also be good)
  • 1/4 cup raisins, roughly chopped (I used a raisin blend I had from trader joe's that had multiple colors and sizes.  Try to use half yellow and half red.  If you have to choose one, use yellow if you use figs, and use red if you use apricots.)
  • 1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced and seeded
  1. Add saffron to warm water and let sit (optional)
  2. Heat up dutch oven (or other heavy pot).
  3. Pat your lamb dry.
  4. Add 1 tbsp oil to pot.  Add lamb chunks in a single layer (multiple batches likely) when the oil is hot.  There should be a nice sizzle.  Turn over once when brown.  Remove to a bowl and set aside.
  5. Lower heat to medium and add onions and garlic.  Stir occasionally.  When onions are transparent and lightly golden, add spices and stir.
  6. Add generous dash of wine (1/4 c.?) and deglaze bottom of pot, scraping with wooden spoon.  (optional)
  7. Add saffron water (or regular water), deglazing now if no red wine was used.
  8. Add lamb and accumulated juices back to pot.
  9. Simmer on low heat with cover on, approximately 1 hour.  (check periodically-- you can add some water if necessary, but you shouldn't need to.)
  10. Add turnip, carrot, and fruit; stir.
  11. Simmer addition 30-45 minutes.
  12. Add chick peas; stir.
  13. Place lemon slices on top of mixture.
  14. Cover and simmer additional 20 minutes.
  15. Serve immediately (without lemon slices).  Can be served over couscous or eaten plain.
You won't regret taking the time to make this stew.  In fact, just writing this has made me want to make it all over again.


1 comment:

  1. Hey tart, will you add "follow me on facebook" button? Cousin L.