Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hearty Lamb Stew

Let me start out by saying this: I do not like curry, or rather I have not like it.  This is because the flavors are often too overpowering and aggressive for me.  That might suit someone who is used to these bold flavors, but for me it has always been slightly off putting.  And frankly, it's intimidating.  I am, after all, a Southern bred girl who was never really exposed to international flavors and cuisines until my adult life.  Americanized versions of Chinese, Japanese, Italian and Mexican was pretty much the extent of my adventures in food (Note: let's be clear, these foods are often DAMN tasty!).

Rhymes with Rasheed is another story altogether.  He has eaten many foods from people of many different cuisines and backgrounds, and likes all kids of things that I previously would not even look at, let alone eat.  So this lamb stew is a meeting point for us.  It utilizes lamb, some Eastern spices, and the widely loved flavors of carrots, onions and sweet peas.  Elias loved it -- he ate his first plate before I could dish out everyone else's and then ate two more servings.  The stew went so fast, I ended up eating a PB sandwich afterwards because there was almost none left for me!  The flavor is there, but it's not knocking you over and is a good dish for those of us just starting to experiment with new flavors.

I used cubed lamb shank with the bones in for this, then removed the bones after cooking. But you could easily use any other part of the lamb, or replace with beef or chicken for an equally tasty alternative.  If you wanted to make it vegetarian you can leave out the meat altogether and add potatoes.  Lamb is more expensive than beef or chicken, but since the other ingredients are household staples that most of us typically keep around, the dish is still pretty affordable.  If you don't usually keep tumeric around, check the International foods aisle of your grocery store, you are likely to find smaller packages of spices that are more affordable than the ones on the spice aisle in the fancy glass bottles!

Hearty Lamb Stew
Prep time: 15 minutes     Cook time: 2:30
Price: $12.42         Servings: 4-6

2 lbs. lamb meat
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup peas
1/4 cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 1/2 ts. tumeric
pinch of allspice
pinch of cumin
kosher salt and black pepper to taste

1. Preheat a stock pot over medium-high heat and drizzle with oil.
2. Season the meat with salt and pepper, and dust with the flour to coat.  
3. Brown the meat in batches, and remove them from the pan.  Add the onions and garlic and soften.
4. Return the meat to the pan, and add enough water to cover. Then add the carrots, peas, tumeric, allspice, cumin and salt and pepper to taste.  
5. Cover and cook over high heat for 20 minutes, then reduce to a simmer for at least two hours. Serve hot over rice.

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