Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lamb & Chickpea Stew

The title of this recipe should just be "delicious," because that is exactly what it is. I love meals that cook in a pot for a really long time, I've mentioned this endlessly, and honestly who doesn't? I suppose "meals that cook in a pot for a really long time" is what most refer to when using a crock pot. To be honest, I've never actually been in the presence of a crock pot. That seems ludicrous I know, but I'm dead serious, no one in my entire family has ever used one, so I don't have that crock pot knowledge. But, I can tell you this, cooking a stew in a cast iron pan on a low temperature in your oven, is the same concept.

I rarely share meat recipes because I feel like meat is strange thing to photograph. But that's just nonsense. We don't eat a lot of meat around here, but we are lamb eaters. I grew up with lamb, so I love the flavor. 

On that note, lamb can be expensive. I'm sure you've all had that "this rack of lamb is $40?!" experience at the market. That's when I explain to you that life with lamb, beyond those $40 racks, does exist. Here is my very first lesson in budget mealing (that may not be a word, but I am making it one for the time being). The next time you're looking to make a lamb stew, make sure to ask your butcher for back bones and leg bones. The meat is plentiful and they cost somewhere between $1.99 (for two leg bones) and $1.59 (for 3 back bones). These figures are obviously from my local market, so go do your own research and see what you can find. These are the best cuts for soups and stews.

Moving on from that tirade to my little recipe. But a few notes before we get started. I added chickpeas to this stew to make it extra special. I also made brown rice to accompany it, but had every intention of making some "couscous" (the larger granules, not the little teeny traditional ones) before I realized I didn't really want to make a special trip to the store to get that. The couscous adds a Moroccan twist and would be a perfect pairing with this stew (the brown rice was completely satisfactory).

Ingredients:

Several lamb leg & back bones or 1 decent sized shank (also the leg, but much more meaty)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
A handful of flour
Half of an onion
1 large clove of garlic
Half a can of diced tomatoes
Enough water to cover
Salt & Pepper
A generous sprinkling of cumin
4 medium sized carrots
1 can of chickpeas (equal to about a cup of fresh soaked beans)
A handful of fresh parsley

Directions: 

• Pour oil into a cast iron pan and heat on stove top. Coat your lamb in flour and let brown in the oil.
• When your lamb is browned on all sides, add chopped onions and garlic. Let them cook until softened and the aroma is in the air.
• Add your diced tomatoes and water, cumin, salt and pepper. Cover with lid and cook in the oven at around 275ยบ for 2 and a half hours.
• Chop carrots, parsley and drain your chickpeas.
• Make your rice or couscous (for brown rice: cook 1.5 cups of rice in 3 cups of water with a cube of butter and salt for 50 minutes on low).
• Once the 2.5 hours are up, add the carrots to your stew. Cover and return to oven for another 15 minutes.
• Then add chickpeas and parsley and cook for another 15 minutes.
• Serve over bed of rice or couscous.

Your total cook time will be 3 hours.

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