Ready to excite your taste buds? Here’s a recipe for Middle Eastern Lamb Stew is boldly flavored with a blend of characteristic Middle Eastern spices and finished with fiber-rich chickpeas. It takes 15 minutes of hands on time before slow cooking in the oven until tender. Served with whole grain rice, bulgur or couscous and a side salad, it makes a delicious weekend dinner (or how about giving Easter dinner a Middle Eastern theme this year?).
Here I’ve used used a beautiful cut of meat – boneless leg of lamb. But you can also use stew meat- cut from lamb shoulder, it tenderizes beautifully when slow cooked. I’ve opted for local, sustainably-raised lamb, which seems more meaty and sweeter in flavor than imported lamb. And with any great meal that is planned with care using only the best ingredients, a great wine is needed. It does not always have to be like that, but in my opinion the right droplet in the glass enhances every meal – whether it’s a charcuterie board or a richly flavored meal like this.
Middle Eastern Lamb Stew
- 1-1,2 kg lamb stew meat (boneless leg or shoulder), cut into ca. 4cm cubes
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 shallots, diced
- 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- generous grind of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (Ceylon)
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 60 ml red wine vinegar (good quality)
- 2 tablespoons soft brown sugar (I recommend GEPA organic mascobado raw cane sugar)
- 400 ml Gemüse Fond
- 40 g pitted kalamata olives (ca. 25 olives)
- 25 g dried cranberries
- 1 x 400 g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 25 g pine nuts lightly toasted
- Seeds from half a pomegranate
- Fresh herbs I like chopped mint and cilantro
- Couscous, millet, bulgur, short-grain brown rice, or flatbreads
Preheat the oven to 330°F / 165°C.
Heat the oil in an oven-proof Dutch oven over a medium heat. Add the shallots and fry for 5 minutes, until beginning to color. Add the garlic, all the spices, and tomato paste and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Season the lamb with salt and pepper, then add it to the pot and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly to ensure all sides are lightly browned.
Add the vinegar, brown sugar and Gemüse Fond and bring to a light simmer. Cover with the lid, transfer to the oven and bake 2 hours. For the last 30 minutes of the cooking time, add the olives, cranberries, and chickpeas.
Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve scattered with pine nuts, pomegranate seeds and fresh herbs along with your grain of choice or flatbreads as an accompaniment. Enjoy!
The leftovers also taste fabulous as the flavors have more time to meld.
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