Have you read the Hunger Games? You should. I was hesitant at first, but after reading the first book I was sold (I read it in half a day). Granted it is a very fast read, but the story was inspiring (obviously inspired me to make this lamb stew!). AND the movie is coming out on March 23rd! SO, in honor of the Hunger Games - I give you my version of Lamb Stew with dried plums.
The story is not about food, however there are many instances where it is mentioned. The dish that stood out to me the most was the lamb stew that the main character (Katniss) has on one of her last nights in the Capitol.
I was not sure which way to approach this dish. The description did not mention anything aside from the lamb, the dried plums (or prunes) and that it was served on a bed of wild rice. I wanted the stew to be more interesting than just a few chunks of meat and potatoes, so I decided to take a moroccan style approach.
The stew turned out wonderfully and the flavours were vibrant. Go see the movie and make this after! AND..."May the odds be ever in your favor!"
Recipe: Hunger Games Lamb Stew with Dried Plums
2 lbs lamb stew (shoulder meat)
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp salt
1 tsp thyme
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 1/3 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp tomato paste
2/3 cup water
1 package pearl onions
1 bulb fennel (cut fronds off, slice in half and then in long strips)
2 carrots sliced on an angle
1 cup chick peas (canned - rinsed)
1 cup dried plums (prunes)
Remove any excess fat from the lamb and cut into bite size chunks. Dry the lamb with paper towels. Combine the corianer, cumin, ginger, salt and thyme and sprinkle over the lamb mixture. Toss to coat.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a dutch oven over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp oil. Brown the lamb in batches (don’t crowd it). deglaze the dutch oven with the chicken broth. Add the tomato paste, cinnamon stick, bay leaf and water. Add the lamb and its accumulated juices back to the pot and place pot in oven to cook for 1 1/2 hours (until the lamb is just tender).
Meanwhile, toss the onions and fennel with 2 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until browned. Set aside.
Add the chick peas, plums and carrots to the lamb and stir to combine. Let cook for another 30-45 minutes. Add in the onions and fennel. Garnish with green onions and serve on a bed of wild rice accompanied by spinach or another vegetable.