I love food and am a total believer in foods’ power over mood and circumstance. When something bad (or good, or neutral, or nothing at all ) happens, I’m all over it with the appropriate menu. Food can make anything better. Even facing certain death in a kill-or-be-killed arena where you are being sent to atone for crimes committed by your ancestors. Apparently.
“What’s impressed you most since you arrived here?” I rack my brain for something that made me happy here. Be honest, I think. Be honest. “The lamb stew,” I get out. Caesar laughs, and vaguely I realize some of the audience has joined in. “The one with the dried plums?” asks Caesar. I nod. “Oh, I eat it by the bucketful.”
And, so this week for Book Cookin’ Thursday, We will be making Lamb Stew with Dried Plums from Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.
..or rather, the “No-Hunger Games”, if this stew works out!
* pauses for laughs*
Fine, all puns aside, the recipe I used is from the website notquitenigella.com , and you can find and follow it along here. She has some great pictures of every step in the recipe, and modifications for pressure cookers and stove top methods.
Let’s Cook! May the odds be ever in our favor.
- 1 kilo, 1 inch diced lamb neck (also called scotch fillet-you can also use lamb fillet, diced leg or shoulder).
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup plain or all-purpose flour
- 1-2 tablespoons oil
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 onions, sliced
- 2 cups beef or lamb stock
- 2 large carrots, cut into chunks
- 500g/1 pound small chat potatoes roughly the same size
- 1/4 cup pitted prunes (am I the only one who didn’t know that prunes are dried plums?)
- 1/4 cup Turkish dried apricots (Ah yes, the finest turkish dried apricots that the No Name brand makes…)
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 sprig fresh lemon thyme (or use thyme and add some lemon zest)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup ginger beer
- Salt if needed
- Serve with: wild rice, regular rice or Paddy’s potato scones
Step 1 – On a shallow plate, mix the flour, salt and pepper and dredge the lamb pieces shaking off any excess.
Step 1a– Regret leaving the prep work for this recipe until after work, especially when “after work” is midnight. Lousy evening shift. 😦
Step 2 – Heat your cast iron pot or a frying pan on medium to high heat and brown the lamb pieces in the oil in three or four batches. Then add the garlic and onion and stir until the onions become translucent.
Step 3- If using a slow cooker: Add the stock, sugar, carrots, potatoes, prunes, apricots, rosemary, lemon thyme, bay leaves and ginger beer to the lamb and onion mix. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Taste to see whether salt is needed
Okay, I’m pretty tired, but I did not see sugar ANYWHERE in the ingredients list. What kind of sugar? How much sugar? I am adding no sugar, and I do NOT appreciate deception when I’m trying my best to be good and follow the recipe.
Step 4– Clean up after yourself, because if memory serves, J HATES it when he goes to bed after cleaning practically the whole house only to then waking up to an unholy mess his wife made after work. It’s like his least favorite thing, aside from K-Os and people who don’t stand up during the national anthem.
Step 5- Watch an episode of Nashville, eat a handful of Ritz crackers and a Cheesestring and fall asleep
Step 6- Cook, add some salt and LOTS of pepper when you realize you added a bottle of ginger beer instead of a cup and therefore the stew is very sweet.
Verdict: Sweetness aside, this was actually pretty tasty. Make sure that you only add a cup of ginger beer and then I would actually recommend this. I’ve never prepared lamb before, because I didn’t know how, but this was easy, healthy, filling and yummy! Would I choose it as my last meal before entering the arena? No, but I would make it again! Success!