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Spicy Lamb Stew with Chickpeas

Spicy Lamb Stew with Chickpeas

1 Heat the oven to 325F.

2 Cut the lamb into chunks: Remove the wrapping and and trim any excess fat from the exterior of the lamb. Open up the leg so you see where the bone was removed, then follow the deep cracks running between the muscles to separate the leg into smaller pieces.

Cut each of these smaller pieces into roughly 3-inch chunks for the stew. You may have some smaller or larger pieces; that’s OK. Sprinkle the meat all over with salt and black pepper.

3 Brown the lamb: In a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the meat and let it cook for 3 minutes without disturbing. Don't crowd the pan; work in batches if necessary. The meat may stick at first, but will easily lift after a few minutes. Turn and brown the other sides for 3 minutes more. Transfer the meat to a bowl.

4 While the lamb is browning, prepare the onions. Slice off any straggly roots from the onions, leaving the firm root centers intact. Cut the onions in half from tip to root. Peel off the papery outer layers of skin. Cut each half into a few wedges, slicing through the root so that the wedges stay intact.

5 Cook the onions: Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the pan and add the wedges, cut sides down, crowding them as close together as possible. Brown for 2 minutes, then turn and brown the other sides for 2 minutes more. Try to keep the wedges intact as you turn them. Transfer to the bowl with the browned meat.

6 Add the seasonings to the pan: Stir the garlic, shallots, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and allspice into the pan. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook 1 minute more or until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the water, scraping up any browned bits that might be stuck to the bottom of the pan.

7 Braise the lamb: Return the meat and onions to the pan and stir into the liquid. Add the bay leaf. Bring to a boil.

Cover the pan and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1 hour.

8 Add the raisins and chickpeas to the stew. Gently stir so some of the chickpeas are submerged in the liquid.

Cover and return to the oven. Continue cooking for 30 minutes, or until the lamb is very tender and easily pierced with a fork. If necessary, continue cooking for 30 minutes more until the lamb is tender.

9 Serve the lamb: Taste the cooking juices for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like. Discard the bay leaf. Sprinkle the dish with cilantro just before serving.

The stew can also be cooled and refrigerated for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. Warm over low heat or in a low oven before serving.


Moroccan Lamb and Chickpea Stew

With our freeze-now, serve-later dishes, you can give your family a comfy meal on even the busiest weeknight. If you can't find boneless lamb shoulder in one piece, look for lamb shoulder chops &mdash seek out the ones labeled "arm" they are meatier than "blade" chops. Leg of lamb, a leaner cut, can also be used in this dish just check lamb for doneness after 45 minutes.

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Pat lamb dry with paper towels and sprinkle all over with 1/2 teaspoon salt. In 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven, heat olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add lamb pieces and cook, in 3 batches, about 4 minutes per batch or until lamb is well browned on all sides. With slotted spoon or tongs, transfer lamb pieces to medium bowl as they brown.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. To same Dutch oven, add onion and garlic, and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until onion is tender and golden, stirring occasionally. Stir in cumin, paprika, coriander, cinnamon, ground red pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt cook 30 seconds, stirring to toast the spices.
  3. Return lamb to Dutch oven. Add tomatoes with their puree, chicken broth, and carrots heat to boiling on medium-high. Cover Dutch oven and place in oven. Bake stew 1 hour or until lamb is tender when pierced with tip of knife, stirring once halfway through cooking.
  4. Return Dutch oven to stovetop stir in beans and olives, and cook on medium-high 5 minutes or until heated through. Stir in chopped cilantro.
  5. Spoon half of stew into warm serving bowls and garnish each with cilantro leaves, then spoon remaining stew into freezer-safe containers (see Thawing and Reheating Tips).

Tips & Techniques

To reheat after thawing:

Top of range: In covered saucepan, heat to boiling on medium, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Microwave oven: Heat in microwave-safe bowl, covered, on Low (30 percent) 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, then on High 5 to 10 minutes, stirring once.


Fragrant Lamb and Chickpea Stew with Spiced Flatbreads

If you like things a little more fiery, add a finely chopped red chilli to your stew along with the garlic and spices.

This lamb stew is spiced with cardamom, cumin, coriander and turmeric, topped with sweet pomegranate and served with homemade flatbreads. The stew and flatbreads are freezable so both can be batch cooked so you always have a nutritious meal to hand.

ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped

tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Large handful mint, roughly chopped, to serve

self-raising flour, plus extra to dust

  1. Heat ½tbsp oil in a large pan (that has a lid) over medium-high heat and brown lamb all over, in batches if necessary. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Add remaining oil, reduce heat slightly and fry onions gently for 10-12min, until softened.
  2. Using a pestle and mortar, bash cardamom pods to break the husks. Pick out black seeds and discard husks. Grind seeds until fine. Add to the pan along with remaining spices and garlic. Cook for 2min, until fragrant. Return lamb to the pan along with the tomatoes. Cook for 4min, or until the tomatoes have started to break down. Stir through stock and plenty of seasoning. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15min. Uncover, stir through chickpeas and bubble for a further 15-20min, until lamb is tender and sauce has reduced slightly.
  3. Meanwhile, make the flatbreads. In a medium bowl, mix flour, 150g yogurt and ½tsp fine salt to make a dough, adding a little more yogurt if the mixture is dry. Tip on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 1min, until smooth and pliable. Divide into 4 and roll each piece into a rough oval, about 20cm long. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and fry flatbreads (without oil) one at a time, for 3min per side, or until slightly puffed and speckled golden. Wrap flatbreads together in a clean tea towel while you make the spiced butter.
  4. Melt butter, cumin and chilli powder in a small pan. Brush over the flatbreads. Check stew seasoning, then sprinkle over pomegranate seeds and mint. Serve with the flatbreads.

Freeze ahead:

Make stew to end of step 2. Cool completely and freeze for up to 1 month. To serve, defrost overnight in fridge and reheat on hob until piping hot. Make flatbreads to end of step 3, cool completely then wrap individually in baking parchment before transferring to a freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month. To serve, defrost at room temperature and reheat in a dry frying pan over medium hob heat for 1min per side, before completing recipe.


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Reviews ( 42 )

It Was so easy and delicious. Yes, I made a few changes :

I used dried Turkish apricots instead of raisins and I used Thai red curry paste instead of tomato purée. Mine was very spicy but super delicious. I’m so glad that I served it with the couscous arugula salad. It was just perfect.

I made date and pistachio bonbons for dessert with a Greek yogurt and honey dipping sauce. We felt like we were in Casa Blanca.

My family LOVE this recipe. Quick and easy to make.

I learned from this recipe that Moroccan style food has dried fruit mixed in with the meat. It is a tasty combination of sweetness from the fruits and heat from the cayenne. I served it over couscous and arugula. It is a filling home style dish that everyone should try.

Wonderful. I did make a few changes but I think the flavor and character of the dish was the same. I used sweet potatoes instead of carrots (didn't have any), and I had some preserved lemon on hand so I used this instead of the lemon rind. I also kept the drippings (from local, grass-fed lamb? You betcha!) and thought it odd that these would be "discarded" and replaced with oil. I happened to have plenty of frozen cilantro on hand, but I wondered how many people would in December. This is a great use for ground lamb as most recipes are for meatballs or some meat-heavy dish with few vegetables. The couscous was also great for sopping up the juices, and I had a lot of organic arugula to use up. I don't often cook with lamb but as others have pointed out it may be just as good with beef or turkey. It's at least an incentive to buy ground lamb again, and I'll be making this again regardless.


Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Stewed Chickpeas

It got COLD here. I mean really cold! So cold that we had to dig out our winter hats just to stay warm outside this past weekend. However, it was a good excuse to rummage through or chest freezer and snag some tomato sauce to thaw out and make a cozy meal with ingredients from last season along with some fresh lamb from a neighbors farm and spring herbs. This meal was just what the doctor ordered and satisfied that comfort food craving. With that being said, this isn’t a meal that needs to be served on a cold spring evening. It’s not too heavy which makes it easy to enjoy outside in the sunshine with a glass of wine. It comes together rather quickly (if you plan ahead and soak your chickpeas) and is a great way to use up any of last season’s jarred tomatoes to make room for all the future tomatoes coming soon! We actually played it really well with last season’s tomatoes and have exactly 5 jars left which I think will get us through until we’re able to jar up more for the fall, winter and early spring months next year. Anyhow, I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as we do. It’s incredibly flavorful and uses a lot of ingredients you just might already have stashed in your cupboards or freezers.

Cheers from Tumbleweed Farm.

Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Stewed Chickpeas

Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 1.5 hours Serves: 4-6

  • 1/2 pound dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1/2 a yellow or red onion, cut into large chunks
  • hefty pinch of salt
  • 28 ounces of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/3 cup dried unsweetened cherries (or apricots)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • Cooked rice
  • Plain whole milk goat yogurt
  • minced parsley
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. In a large stockpot combine the chickpeas, bay leaf, thyme sprigs, onion, and a big pinch of salt. Cover with at least 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain and active simmer, and cook until the chickpeas are tender. About 60-90 minutes (the time will depend on the freshness of your chickpeas) Drain the chickpeas and discard the solids.
  2. In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat add the crushed tomatoes along with the red pepper flakes, cinnamon stick, dried cherries and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, add the cooked chickpeas and keep on a low simmer while you prepare your meatballs.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425F. And set a baking sheet to the side.
  4. In a large bowl combine the lamb, garlic, onion, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and parsley and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix the meat up and incorporate the spices. Form the mixture into small meatballs (about 1 1/2 inch in diameter) and place on a baking sheet. You should end up with about 12 meatballs. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and add the meatballs to the stewed chickpeas and give the mixture a light stir.
  5. To serve divide some cooked rice between plates and top with the stewed chickpeas and meatballs. Dollop with yogurt and sprinkle with minced parsley, crushed red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste.

Use this recipe as a guide. Adjust measurements and ingredients as necessary


Moroccan Lamb Stew with Figs and Chickpeas

It’s the time of year when I have an urge to travel. Call it cabin fever, restlessness, or simply the craving to be somewhere different, where it’s warm, spicy and balmy. The sights, smells and sounds of new cultures are revitalizing. Time slows down, and the smallest details are observed and savored amidst a kaleidescope of impressions. It just so happens that this is also the time of year when my urge to travel collides with real life. It’s the middle of the school year, I have work deadlines, and the contents of my piggy bank were spent at Christmas. So I improvise, and my travels occur in the kitchen, where I replace my passport with the jars in my spice drawer and concoct recipes inspired by the exotic flavors, heat and aromas of far flung destinations.

Moroccan Lamb Stew with Chickpeas and Figs

The secret ingredient in this North African inspired stew is ras el hanout. Ras el hanout is a spice blend which may include upwards of 50 spices, including cinnamon, cardamom, clove, turmeric and cayenne. The name, translated, means head of the shop, meaning the best on offer. Like many spice blends, there is no one way to make it, and variations exist from home to home, merchant to merchant. You can find ras el hanout in the spice section of your supermarket or specialty stores. If you cannot locate it, then I encourage you to try to make your own version. It’s easy to do, and I’ve included a recipe below.

Moroccan Lamb Stew with Chickpeas and Figs

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground paprika
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 to 3 pounds lamb shoulder or leg, cut in 1 1/2-inch chunks
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 (14 ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes with juice
2 cups chicken stock
12 dried Calimyrna or Turkish figs, halved
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons ras el hanout (recipe below)
1 (14 ounce) can chickpeas, drained
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Harissa or red chili paste
Fresh cilantro sprigs

Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, the coriander, cumin, paprika, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl. Mix to form a paste. Place the lamb in a large bowl and rub the paste all over the meat. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour or refrigerate covered for up to 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven or oven proof pot with lid over medium-high heat. Add the lamb in batches and brown on all sides, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Transfer the lamb to a plate or bowl.
Add the onion and carrot to the same pot. Saute until softened, about 2 minutes, stirring up any brown bits. Add the garlic and ginger and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, figs, cinnamon stick, ras el hanout, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Return the lamb and any collected juices to the pot, submerging it in the stock. (Add additional chicken stock to cover, if necessary.) Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover pot. Transfer to oven and bake until lamb is falling apart tender, about 2 hours.
Transfer pot to stove. Remove lamb and vegetables with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Bring stock to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil uncovered until sauce is reduced by about half and thickened, skimming any fat. Stir in the chickpeas and taste to check for seasoning. If necessary add a tablespoon of brown sugar to the stock. Return the lamb and vegetables to the pot. Serve warm spooned over couscous. Pass bowls of harissa and fresh cilantro around the table as condiments.

Ras El Hanout
adapted from The Food of Morocco by Tess Mallos

Be sure to use very fresh spices, or grind the whole dried spices.

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 teaspoons ground coriander
3 teaspoons ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons allspice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne

Combine all the spices together. Store in a glass jar in a cool, dark place.
(Recipe may be halved.)


  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pound boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of fat and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • ¾ cup water
  • 3 medium carrots, thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped (1 1/4 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 4 cups packaged fresh baby spinach
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro and/or mint

In a large bowl combine fennel, coriander, cumin, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Add lamb pieces toss to coat. In a large saucepan cook lamb in 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and carefully add the water to the lamb in saucepan. Bring to boiling reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 1 hour or until lamb is tender.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook carrots, celery and onion in remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes more or until vegetables are just tender. Stir in garbanzo beans. In a small bowl whisk together chicken broth and flour. Add to bean mixture. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly cook and stir for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and stir in spinach and garam masala.

To serve, divide bean mixture among four serving plates. Top with lamb and sprinkle with cilantro and/or mint.


Recipe Summary

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless leg of lamb, trimmed and cubed
  • 4 cups onion, sliced and separated into rings
  • 1 ¾ cups water, divided
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 1 (14-ounce) can less-sodium beef broth
  • 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup dried figs, halved
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat coat pan with cooking spray. Add half of lamb sauté 8 minutes or until browned. Remove from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining lamb. Return first batch of lamb to pan. Add onion, 1/4 cup water, and garlic to pan cook 4 1/2 minutes or until lightly browned, scraping the pan to loosen browned bits. Add cumin, coriander, ginger, saffron, allspice, pepper, and cinnamon cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and 1 1/2 cups water bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour. Stir in chickpeas, carrots, raisins, and figs cover and simmer 20 minutes or until carrots are tender. Stir in mint and salt.


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