Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Good Food: Out Like A Lamb

The month of March is said to come in like a lion and go out like a lamb. So in honor of this last day of March, we present a receipe from Food Network's Danny Boome that is easy and warming to the soul--kind of like a Spring Day and the promise that the month of April holds.

Braised Lamb Stew
(recipe & photo courtesy FoodNetwork.com)

For the lamb:
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder or boneless leg of lamb, 1 1/2-inch cubes

For the stew:
1 onion, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 carrots, roughly diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (14.5-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
1 lemon, zested
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup dried apricots
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro leaves

In a mixing bowl add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, cardamom and salt. Mix well until the mixture has turned into a paste, if the paste is too thick add a little more olive oil. Add the cubed lamb to the bowl and toss around to coat well. Cover and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add 1/3 of the lamb, and brown well. Remove to a plate, and repeat with remaining lamb.

Add onions and carrots to the pot and sweat for 5 minutes. Stir in the fresh garlic and ginger; continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and chick peas, then return the lamb to the pot and stir in the lemon zest, chicken stock, apricots, and honey.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the lamb is tender. Sprinkle the stew with chopped fresh cilantro and serve right out of the pot.