Food – In this case Steve’s Lamb Stew

So I’ve been thinking about something other than the impending release of Mass Effect 3, which believe me took some effort.  “What have you been thinking of Steve?” I hear no one say, well I’ll tell you; food, in this case Stew, specifically my Moroccan influenced Lamb Stew and I have decided to share it with you all.

I have made this stew several times over the past few years and it always seem to go down well, there are so many ways you can tweak the recipe but in this case I’m going to go with the one I use most commonly.

You will need:

Meat – I use either diced lamb or mutton, depends on how strong a flavour you want from the meat.  Either is good.

A mix of veggies, you can use practically anything here, my recommendation is:

Sweet Potato
Potato(s)
Butternut Squash
Swede or Turnips
Carrots
Onions
Celery

Spices – Ground Smoked Paprika (the regular kind is ok but Smoked is much better if you can get it), Ground Cinnamon, Ground Cumin, fresh chopped garlic, Salt & Black Pepper.

Stock of your choice, I use a lamb or beef stock.

To begin there is a lot of chopping to do I’m afraid.  Start with the meat, trim the excess fat and make sure it is reasonably cubed then toss it quickly in a mixture of plain flour, black pepper and salt. Once this is done set it aside and move onto the veg.

Chop the celery and onions finely, everything else you can be a bit cavalier about and peel & roughly chop it however is easiest for you.

Once this is all done go back to the meat, dust it with the flour, salt & pepper again then get your big heavy based stew pot of choice and pour in a little light olive oil and heat.  When it’s hot throw the meat in and whizz it round until sealed.  Then take the meat out and rest it in a bowl somewhere.

Next, in the same stew pot without cleaning it, add a dash more oil and throw in the garlic, onions and celery, cook for a couple of minutes until the onions start to soften, then add the rest of the chopped veggies.  Cook for a further 5 minutes or so over a medium heat.  Then add the spices, start with (and these are rough measures used for when you are making enough stew for about 6 people) 2 teaspoons of Smoked Paprika, 2 teaspoons of Cinnamon and 1 of Cumin.  Stir the spices in and when the veggies are covered nicely add the meat (and all its juices) back to the pot, add another 1/1/0.5 teaspoons of the Smoked Paprika/Cinnamon/Cumin and stir round.

Pour in the stock until everything is covered, whack the heat to maximum until the pot starts to boil, then turn down to minimum and leave for at least 1.5 hours, longer is better.

If you want you can add suet dumplings, half an hour before you are going to serve make some suet dumpling mix:

100g suet, 200g self-rising flour, sprinkling of dried mixed herbs
Slowly add cold water and mix until you have a doughy lump of dumpling mix.  Separate & roll into small (about meatball sized) balls and then pop them in the stew directly, they will cook as the stew does and take about 30mins.

Finally I’d suggest making up some Couscous or Bulgur Wheat to serve with the stew and chop some fresh coriander to sprinkle over the top.

Serve with a nice glass of beer and enjoy the lovely smell that pours out of the kitchen while cooking this stew.