MIDDLE EASTERN LAMB STEW
I am a pushover when it comes to lamb these days. Gyros, Shawarma, Middle Eastern lamb stew and kabobs all get me excited. My love affair with lamb began when I journeyed out of the country for the first time and headed over to the Middle East to visit Jordan and Israel on a two week tour. I loved every minute of that trip.The sights and sounds were quite different than what I was used to. For a young girl barely out of High School it was an eye opener. I quickly discovered the gastronomical delight of eating foods from a different culture.
The Middle Eastern lamb practically melted in my mouth. The flavors were so complex and yet the dishes were completely down to earth and simple. I had no idea at the time that one day I would be creating and having a ball with many of these dishes in my own kitchen. I find that lamb lends itself perfectly to these global flavors.
The one thing I never expected after returning to the states was how good American Lamb is. I’m a big proponent of buying local and fresh whenever possible. There are more than 82,000 family-owned sheep operations in almost every U.S. state, making American Lamb local and available all the year round. American lamb is also known for its quality, tenderness and flavor making it a pretty easy decision for me when it is time to buy.
I had fun creating this flavorful dish and was thrilled how it came out on my very first try. I used a beautifully cut fresh American Lamb shoulder to start, adding fresh tomatoes, spinach, and garbanzo beans for substance and texture. Dried figs and golden raisins finished the dish off perfectly, adding a touch of sweetness for lighthearted and unexpected fun. Serve this dish as is, over grains or a side of naan. You will want to mop up every last delicious bite.
I am heading to the market for more Local American Lamb soon. This is destined to become one of my all-time favorites!
- 2 Pounds American Lamb shoulder, cubed
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large sweet onion, sliced ¼ inch thick
- 1¾ tsp sea salt, divided
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 6 cups freshly chopped tomatoes with juice
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- ¼ tsp cardamom
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp coriander
- ½ tsp cumin
- 1 14.5 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained
- 6 ounces fresh spinach
- 3 ounces dried figs, quartered (about ½ cup)
- ½ cup golden raisins
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Season the lamb with ¾ tsp sea salt and ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper.
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in dutch oven over medium high heat.
- Add lamb in batches and brown on all sides. Remove to platter. Add sliced onions and cook until lightly browned and fragrant. (about 4-5 minutes).
- Add minced garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute.
- Return lamb to the pan, add vegetable broth, fresh tomatoes, spices, remaining tsp salt and ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper.
- Cover and place in 325 degree oven for 2 hours, 30 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven, carefully lifting lid (steam may be built up). Stir in garbanzo beans, spinach, figs and raisins.
- Return to the oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and serve,
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.