Lamb stew

Housewarming party in January:

What to make for fifty people coming to a housewarming party in January? We made a great deal of finger food, but we also wanted to have a hot stew that would do for dinner if people didn’t eat before they arrived. I came up with this stew, which has very little meat in it but tastes exciting, and can sit on the stove all evening without any problems.

How to make lamb stew:

Chop a quarter of a pound of lamb shoulder meat into bite-size pieces. Also chop an onion, two peeled parsnips, two peeled turnips, two peeled carrots, and two peeled sweet potatoes. Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and brown the lamb, along with the onion and three cloves of minced garlic. When the onion begins to soften and brown, add four cups of water and the rest of the chopped vegetables. You can also add a quarter of a chopped cauliflower if you feel like it. Also add two teaspoons of mint, a teaspoon of cumin, a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and two teaspoons of fresh grated ginger. Finally, add 1 cup of chopped dried figs and half a cup of chopped dried apricots. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer about 3/4 hour, or until the vegetables are soft, even mushy, and most of the water has been absorbed or cooked off.

I don’t serve this over rice or anything: there’s enough starch in the turnips and parsnips to make this a filling stew without a separate starch.

What if I want this to be vegan?

Just leave out the lamb. You might want to add some red lentils, and extra dried fruit.

Can I keep lamb stew for later?

Yes, lamb stew will be better the next day, and you can keep it in the refrigerator, well sealed up in a tupperware, for a week. It won’t freeze well though.

Published by Karen Carr

Dr. Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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