Friday, January 22, 2010

Middle Eastern Lamb Stew

Last year we helped friends cut and wrap several of their farm-raised lamb, and we purchased a half from them. Never have we tasted lamb so wonderful! Lean and mild-flavored, and with a bit of fresh ground pepper and a sprinkle of salt, there is nothing quite like a grilled lamb chop. They are since gone, but we had two packages of small lamb shoulder chops remaining, total 8. So I searched for a recipe and found the following one on Although it calls for boneless lamb stew meat, I coated the chops as is (bone intact), but otherwise followed the recipe.

Middle Eastern Lamb Stew from Diana's kitchen courtesy

- 1 1/2 pounds boneless lamb stew meat, (shoulder cut) or 2 1/2 pounds lamb shoulder chops, deboned, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunk
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, or canola oil
- 4 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 15- or 19-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
- 6 ounces baby spinach

Place lamb in a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Mix oil, cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Coat the lamb with the spice paste and toss to coat well. Top with onion.

Bring tomatoes, broth and garlic to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour over the lamb and onion. Cover and cook until the lamb is very tender, 3 to 3 1/2 hours on high or 5 1/2 to 6 hours on low.

Skim or blot any visible fat from the surface of the stew. Mash 1/2 cup chickpeas with a fork in a small bowl. Stir the mashed and whole chickpeas into the stew, along with spinach. Cover and cook on high until the spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes.

Rather than serving over bulgur as suggested, I opted for the remaining larger potatoes we dug this fall that are now going to seed, and made a little mashed potatoes. It was a perfect accompaniment to this flavorful lamb dish, and with a piece of a hearty multi-grain bread, we had a fantastic meal.