I like to make this stew on Sunday mornings so that the house is filled with the lovely aromas all day long. This recipe in particular smells so good - cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, saffron and ginger combined with the aroma of lamb will make you feel warm inside. It will taste better the second, third and fourth days as the spices have a chance to meld. Omit the cayenne if you are serving children. The saffron is a bit of a splurge but you only need a pinch to add the lovely flavor.
Moroccan Lamb Stew is a great supper for the middle of the week - cook up a little basmati rice, warm up the stew and you are ready to eat!
2 Tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic
2 pounds lamb shoulder chops or shoulder roast or lamb shanks
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
dash of cayenne pepper if you like things spicy (I omit)
pinch of saffron threads
1 14 oz can of chopped tomatoes
2 cups water
1 pound carrots
3/4 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup slivered almonds
To serve - cooked basmati rice (as shown), couscous, or small pasta
1. Peel and chop the onion. Peel and mince the garlic. Heat olive oil in dutch oven. Cook the onion and garlic until the onions are translucent.
2. Rub the lamb with salt. Brown the meat on all sides in the pan with the cooked onions. Remove the lamb and set aside.
3. Mix the ground cumin, ground coriander, paprika, cinnamon, black pepper, ground ginger, ground turmeric, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Add it to the cooked onions in the dutch oven. Cook for a couple minutes until the spices start to smell good.
4. Add the water, the saffron, and the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Stir so it is all mixed nicely.
5. Add the browned lamb to the dutch oven and cover with a lid. Add some more water if necessary - the lamb should be half submerged. Place in a 250 oven and cook for 4 hours. Half way through, flip the lamb over.
6. Chop the apricots into pieces about 1/2". Remove stew from oven. Add the apricots and raisins to the stew.
7. Peel the carrots and chop into 1/4" slices. Add to the stew.
8. Return the dutch oven to the oven for another hour or so until the carrots are cooked through and the lamb pulls easily off the bones. Alternately, finish it on top of the stove by simmering. The apricots will dissolve and become part of the sauce.
9. Let the stew cool and place in refrigerator overnite. In the morning, skim the fat that is on the surface. Remove the bones from the shoulders (they should pull out easily).
10. To serve, cook some basmati rice, couscous or small pasta shape. Toast the almonds in a frying pan, taking care not to burn. Heat the stew on top of the stove and serve over the grain. Top with the toasted almonds.
*David Lebovitz is a cookbook author and blogger who lives in Paris. While famous for his many dessert cookbooks, his latest 2014 book - My Paris Kitchen - is full of great recipes and stories about living in Paris. Check out his great blog here.