Take a step away from traditional lamb stew with this Middle Eastern version that gets its character from aromatic spices like cumin, coriander, ginger and cinnamon. Although lamb, as a tough red meat, needs some time to braise in the liquid — and in the process, infuse the heady spice flavors — it’s perfectly fine to let it simmer on the stove while you accomplish other chores. Decorate for the holidays. Brush the dog. Go out for a walk. As long as you stir the stew every half an hour or so, it can cook on its own.
Curried Lamb and Carrot Stew Recipe
2 lbs lamb shoulder, trimmed of fat, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 T minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
4 T olive oil
1 Bermuda (red) onion, thin outer skin removed and sliced into rings about 1/2 inch thick
3 inch stick of cinnamon, broken into pieces
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
6 whole cloves
6 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
Place lamb cubes into medium bowl and sprinkle with ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin and coriander. Mix well to thoroughly coat meat and let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Warm 2 T olive oil in Dutch oven or large, heavy pot. Add lamb and brown well. Remove lamb to clean bowl. Add remaining oil to pot and brown onion until softened. Add cinnamon stick, peppercorns and cloves to pot. Return lamb to pot. Add 2 cups water to pot and stir to coat meat. Bring to boil and then lower heat so liquid is at a gentle simmer. Cover pot and let cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally and checking to make sure liquid hasn’t boiled off. Add water if necessary.
Add carrots to pot and continue to cook for another hour, covered, stirring as needed. If liquid is too thin, remove lid, increase heat and cook vigorously until it has thickened slightly, but remains predominantly broth-like. Remove cinnamon sticks.
Serve stew in warmed, shallow bowls. This stew pairs well with smashed potatoes or couscous.
Wine expert, Stephanie Davis suggests if you don’t feel like being productive while your stew is simmering, open a bottle of Banfi’s Rosso di Montalcino and savor the wine without any interference. Get to know all the layers of spice, fruit and earth in the glass. Understand Sangiovese with a new perspective. Then, swirl and taste it again when the stew is served. Take notice of what you like better, the same, or worse. Take advantage of the meditative, healing power of food and wine experiences.
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Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, illuminating the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished, https://www.facebook.com/EmilyKemme, or on Twitter @EmFeedsYou . Life inspired. Vodka tempered.
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