2 1/2 lbs lamb shoulder
lamb should be trimmed and cut into 1.5 inch cubes - ask your butcher to do this for you
salt and ground black pepper
lamb bones and neck
,optional, if you can get them from the butcher
1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium-large onions
chopped coarse
4 medium garlic cloves
minced or pressed through a garlic press
3 tbsp flour - unbleached all purpose
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 1/4 cups low sodium chicken broth
14 1/2 oz diced tomatoes
1 cup dried apricots
roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs fresh cilantro
15 oz chickpeas
drain and rinse
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
This recipe pairs well with a nice Zinfandel wine as well as red Bordeaux or a Rioja. It can be made up to 3 days ahead and served family style with couscous or jasmine rice. It's hearty, had a ton of flavor and is great for a dinner party.
Adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the over to 300 degrees. Season the lamb generously with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large oven proof Dutch over over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half of the meat so that the individual pieces are close together but not touching. Cook the meat and bones, not moving the pieces until the sides touching the pot are well browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, turn each piece and continue cooking until most sides are well browned, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer the meat to a medium bowl, add another 1 tablespoon of the oil to the pot, and swirl to coat the pan bottom. Brown the remaining lamb in the same manner; transfer the meat to the bowl and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and swirl to coat the pan bottom. Add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently and rigorously, scraping the pot bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits, until the onions have softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the flour, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, coriander, and cayenne and stir until the onions are evenly coated and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
Gradually add the broth, scraping the pot bottom and edges with the wooden spoon to loosen the remaining browned bits and spices, and stirring until the flour is dissolved and the liquid is thick. Stir in the tomatoes, apricots, bay leaves, and cilantro sprigs and bring to a simmer. Add the browned lamb, lamb bones and accumulated juices in the bowl, pushing down the meat and bones to submerge the pieces. Return to a simmer, cover the pot, and place it in the oven. Cook for 1 1/4 hours.
Remove the pot from the oven and stir in the chickpeas. Cover and return the pot to the oven. Cook until the meat is tender and the chickpeas are heated through, about 15 minutes. If serving immediately, spoon off any fat that rises to the top. (The stew can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. spoon off the hardened fat and bring it back to a simmer over medium-low heat).
Discard the lamb bones, bay leaves and cilantro sprigs. Stir in minced cilantro and adjust seasonings to your liking. Serve immediately, garnishing each bowl with almonds if desired.
source: The NEW Best Recipe Cookbook, from authors of Cooks Illustrated