25 March 2014

Foodie Tuesday | Lamb & Lentil Stew

Hey, remember that time when I said we had a strict No-Cooking-Of-Lamb-In-This-House-At All-Ever policy here at the Money Pit?

And then that other time when I said I was going to kick my kitchen's ass and push the boundaries a little bit?

Yeah. So that. Turns out that because I love my husband, and because I've made a new year's resolution that I'm determined to keep, AND because I stumbled across a lonely little leg of lamb in the freezer (how did that get there? a gift? from someone who doesn't like me very much?), I accidentally-on-purpose broke my own rule and Cooked-Lamb-In-This-House.

I still can't bring myself to munch on Mary's woolly barnyard friend, but Daryn says this stew is outstanding and since he's our resident lamb aficionado (and very trustworthy person all around), you can take his opinion as fact. (sidebar: even the Boy likes it, so clearly it's a winner.)

Sure looks pretty good, doesn't it? Wins points with me just for being good-looking.

Preparation: 25 minutes | Cooking Time: 4-6 hours | Serves: 6
Spice mix
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. chili flakes
  • 1 lb. boneless leg of lamb
  • 1 large onion, medium diced (approximately 3 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups carrot, 1/4-inch dice (1 extra large or 2 medium carrots)
  • 1 1/2 cups celery, 1/2-inch dice (3-4 large stalks)
  • 2 cups green beans, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated (use a piece that is roughly 1 inch long by a 1/2 inch in diameter)
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 3/4 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
  • chopped cilantro, to garnish
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • juice of 1/2 large lemon (roughly 2 tbsp.)
Cooking Directions:
  1. Combine spice mix in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk to blend.
  2. Trim the lamb of as much fat and connective tissue as possible, then cut into 2-inch chunks. Toss the lamb pieces in the spice mix until meat is completely coated and there are no spices left in the bowl.
  3. Lightly grease a 6-quart crock pot with olive oil. Spread the spiced lamb in a single layer on the bottom. Top with chopped vegetables, garlic, lemon zest and ginger.
  4. In a 4-cup measuring cup or small bowl, combine the 'liquid' ingredients: broth, tomatoes, lentils and lemon juice. Stir to thoroughly combine, then pour over vegetables/meat.
  5. IMPORTANT NOTE: You are going to commit a cardinal sin of crockpot cookery: you are going to take the lid off... and stir it.... repeatedly. Every hour or so, pop the lid off and give it a deep stir. The lentils need to be regularly mixed into the liquid in order to cook through evenly. Hold your breath and go for it.
  6. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours, until the lamb is tender and lentils + vegetables are cooked through. If the mixture becomes too thick, feel free to add a little broth or extra tomato to loosen it up. It should mostly closely resemble "stewp" when finished cooking - a consistency halfway between soup and stew.
  7. Stir in yogurt or sour cream until fully blended. Serve straight from the slow cooker on a bed of basmati or jasmine rice (or, you know, Minute Rice), topped with chopped cilantro and paired with warm, buttered pitas.

If Daryn is to be believed (and I assure you he can be), this stewp is mmmm-mmmm good. Lamb lovers? You're welcome.

{adapted from "Spiced Lamb & Red Lentils" found in Kitchen Classics: Slow Cookers}