I’m not sure whether it has been the wintery and miserable weather in New York of late, but I have become obsessed with slow cooking and slow cooked stews in particular. The best thing about slow cooking is that you can pop everything on the stove at lunch time, give it a couple of stirs every hour or so, and then virtually neglect it again until dinner time.
The other upside? The meat required for strews is often of a lesser quality cut (still try to buy organic if you can) but the slow cooking process means that by the time you eat it, it is deliciously tender and melts in your mouth.
Stews often also provide enough food for days, and are actually often better on the second and third days as the flavours combine and mature.
I want to share with you a favourite lamb recipe of mine that I have cooked many a time of late and will be cooking again tonight. The addition of the dried plums (if you can’t find them labelled as this, buy prunes as they are the same thing) gives the meal a delicious but subtle sweetness to it, which balances the flavours famously. The lemon rind also packs a big punch here so make sure you don’t leave it out.
- 1kg (or just under) of boneless lamb, cut into 2cm cubes
- 3 tablespoons of fat (I use coconut oil but you can use olive oil)
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (I use Himalayan sea salt
- 1 onion, cut into cubes
- 2 cups carrots, (about 4) roughly diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 TBS fresh ginger, minced
- Zest of one lemon
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup dried plums (preservative free), cut into halves or quarters
- Fresh coriander (cilantro)
- In a mixing bow, add 2 tablespoons of the oil, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, cardamom and salt. Mix well until the mixture has turned into a paste.
- Add the lamb to the bowl and toss to coat well.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pan 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 pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to remove the browned bits of lamb from the bottom of the pan.
- Stir in the fresh garlic and ginger and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
- Return lamb to the pan, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours, stirring occasionally until the lamb is tender.
- Add the quartered dried plums for the last 30 minutes of cooking.
- Stir in the chopped fresh coriander.
- Adjust with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the remaining coriander.