As cruel as it sounds, there’s nothing in this world that tastes better than baby animals and lamb is certainly no exception!  (I’m not kidding, I ate and LOVED raw veal carpaccio when I was in Sienna, while my Mamma sat across from me, slightly horrified.)  I’m at the top of the food chain, and I’m okay with eating any sort of non-endangered animals we’ve got.

That being said, I stand by a mantra that a chef instructor in culinary school said:  “Every animal deserves a good life, a good death, a good butcher and a good chef.”  When I do go out of my way to purchase a nice cut of meat, I try to buy from a local producer or butcher that I know did right by this animal that died to give us sustenance.

I was happy to discover that a former roommate left behind a few lamb shoulder chops from the local butcher in the freezer and they just begged to become a Moroccan style stew.  Lamb’s strong flavor holds up really nicely to the spices in this stew, and it’s loaded with veggies too! I love how the sweetness from the squash and the carrots pair with the spicy lamb.

This dish can be a meal in itself or can be combined with some sides to make it go farther and feed a crowd.  For a simple side dish, I boiled some pearl barley and tossed the cooked and cooled grains and tossed it with the mint pesto I made a few weeks ago for a twist on the conventional lamb and mint pairing

(https://fullbellyfullwallet.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/mint-pesto-and-basil-oil-herb-overload/)

Moroccan Lamb and Vegetable Stew

Serves 4-6 – cost approx $.68 per serving

Ingredients

  • 1 bone in lamb chop (or about 3/4 lb lamb stew meat), 1 inch cubes ($2)
  • salt and pepper – to taste
  • pinch cayenne
  • pinch cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 3 cloves
  • 1″ cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 star anise
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 dry red chiles
  • 1 onion, small dice ($.10)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp dry oregano
  • 1-2 cups butternut squash, medium dice ($.38)
  • 2 carrots, peeled, medium diced ($.13)
  • 3-4 medium potatoes, scrubbed, medium dice ($.30)

Toss the lamb with the cayenne, cumin, turmeric and salt and pepper.  Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium high heat.  When the oil is quite hot add the lamb (and save the lamb bones and toss them in if you used a bone-in chop) and sear on all sides.  Remove the lamb, leaving any oil and lamb fat in the pan.

Gather up the whole spices: cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, anise, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and red chiles, and ‘wet toast’ them by briefly sauteing them until slightly browned.

Next add in the onions and garlic and saute over medium heat until translucent.  Return the lamb and bones to the pot.  Add in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes, making a simple roux thickener.  Add the vegetable stock, bay leaves, nutmeg and oregano and bring the pot to a simmer for 1-3 hours (it’s very flexible).

When you’re starting to get hungry, about half an hour before you want to eat, add in the butternut squash, carrots and potatoes.  Check the seasonings and as soon as the veggies are cooked through you’re ready to eat!

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