I never cooked lamb before cooking this stew.
I feel lucky to have become friendly with a colleague who raises her own animals. When cooperative, her chickens provide me with eggs, and recently, I purchased some lamb. My mom, a wonderful woman and great ‘meat and potatoes’ home cook, does not like lamb, and I really allowed her get into my head about it. I know I like lamb; I’ve had it before. However, after listening to Mom talk about the horrible characteristics of lamb, I began to feel pretty shut down about my purchase. I had to remind myself that my mom doesn’t like goat cheese, either…a sure sign (at least in my eyes) that I made a safe decision in purchasing the lamb.
So, I made this stew. It was 100% better than I expected, probably because I was expecting scary things from the lamb. I was very wrong to expect such scary things. The lamb was so tender, and it well-acquired the various flavors of the stew. My colleague asked me for the recipe, so here it is.
Moroccan Lamb Stew (in a slow cooker)
serves 6 or so
1 lb lamb (I’m tempted to just leave this as is, because it’s funny, but I suppose I should specify – I used 1 lb of stew cut lamb; you could use a larger piece and slow braise it, or you could cut down a larger piece into stew pieces; more meat would not hurt this recipe), seasoned with salt and pepper prior to cooking
1 medium onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 t minced ginger root
1 T cumin
2 t coriander
1 t fennel seeds
1/2 t cinnamon
salt & pepper!
2 C chicken broth
1 19oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3/4 C roughly chopped dried apricots
1/2 C raisins
1 t lemon zest
3 heaping handfuls of kale, destemmed and chopped
In a large saute pan, heat 2 T of your preferred oil over medium-high heat. Brown the lamb on all sides until cooked through, about 8 minutes. Place into the bowl insert of a slow cooker. Use the same sauté pan to cook your onion and bell pepper. After 4-5 minutes, add the garlic and ginger root and let it all go for 3 more minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, fennel seeds, cinnamon, and salt & pepper. Combine well and cook for an additional few minutes. When the mixture is looking soft and smelling beautiful, add to meat.
Turn on slow cooker to high. To the cooker, add broth, chickpeas, apricots, raisins, and lemon zest. Stir to combine. Top the stew with the kale, cover, and let it go. It will be ready in 4 hours. Enjoy.