As the weather is getting colder stews are both a way to warm your home as well as warm your bones. One of my go to meats for stews is lamb.
I like using lamb for a couple of reasons. The way lamb is farmed is typically grass fed in a non-factory-farm situation. Grass feeding provides a cleaner (free of pesticides and herbicides) protein source that is higher in the healthy Omega 3 fatty acids DHA & EPA. These good fats can help lower triglyceride levels; reduce inflammation, especially in your joints and lungs; lessen symptoms of depression, and is essential in the brain development of babies. Lamb has about 50% of the Omega 3’s as a piece of fish (cod) which is a lot!! And lamb also contains CLA which is an Omega 6 fatty acid which new research has shown helps blood sugar regulation, promotes weight loss, and reduces inflammation.
Some people have an aversion to lamb because it’s “gamey”. But this more powerful meaty flavor is due to the lamb (or any grass fed animal) eating food that’s intended by nature and not a bunch of genetically modified corn. And this increased flavor pairs incredibly well with bold aromatic spices.
Today I made a Moroccan inspired lamb stew with chickpeas and raisins. The sweetness of the raisins mellow out the dish and it’s full of spice without being spicy. My toddler ate it right up!
Moroccan Style Lamb Stew
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 lb grass fed lamb stew meat. (Typically bite sized pieces from the shoulder)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp coriander
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 onion diced
- 1-2 diced green bell peppers depending on size
- 1 6oz can tomato paste
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas
- ½ cup raisins
Season the lamb with salt and pepper. In a dutch oven or large pot, heat the oil over high heat until it shimmers, add the lamb pieces. Brown the lamb – depending on the size of your pot, this may have to be done in batches so you don’t over crowd the pan and steam the meat. It’s supposed to be loud and sizzling. Remove lamb once browned.
Reduce heat slightly and add the onion, (add another tbs of oil if the pot looks dry). Once onion is translucent, add the spices, bell pepper. Once pepper starts to soften, add the tomato paste add cook stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes to cook out the raw flavor of the paste. Add the chicken stock all at once to deglaze the pan scrapping up all the brown bits that have stuck to the pan. Return the lamb and all juices to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes or longer. Add the chickpeas and the raisins and continue simmering for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes before serving.
Serve over brown rice and top with chopped kale.
References: The George Mateljan Foundation (2001-2014). Worlds Healthiest Foods: Lamb, grassfed. Retrieved from: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=117