Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Christmas Jewelled Lamb Stew

I know, it's October, but to me the combination of spices in this stew just summon up glorious scents of open fires, Christingle oranges and weekly sniffs of fruit cake as you ladle over ever more booze. It's rare to find a stew we both enjoy, but this has to be my favourite ever. At this time of year comfort food always hits the mark, and finding something packed with unusual flavours which is so simple feels like a secret which should be whispered only to best friends by candlelight.

Keep an eye out for lamb on offer, as it can be very expensive. More lamb in this would go well, but it would bump up the cost and calories quite significantly.


1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
4 carrots, cut into chunks or thick batons
4 parsnips, cut into chunks or thick batons
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves , sliced
5cm fresh root ginger, very finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
500g lamb, cut into chunks
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves
3 cardamom pods
good pinch saffron
1 bay leaf
1 tsp ground coriander
50g ground almonds
800ml beef stock
100g dried apricots
75g dried cranberries

Serves: 6
Cost per portion: £1.68
Nutrition: 473 calories, 54g carbs, 5g protein

Heat oven to 180C.

Toss the carrots, squash and parsnips with the olive oil. Spread over a baking tray and roast for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile fry the onions, garlic and ginger in the oil until the onions are soft.

Add the lamb and stir-fry until browned. Add the spices, cook over the heat to release their flavours, then add the almonds. Pour in the stock bring to a simmer.

Cover the pan and simmer for 45 mins, stirring occasionally. Add the apricots and cranberries, then simmer 15 mins more until the lamb is tender. Thin with a little water if the sauce starts to get too thick.

Add the roasted carrots, squash and parsnips, stir well and serve with mash or crusty bread.

To freeze, cool, then pack into a freezer container or bags. Will keep for up to 3 months. Thaw for 6 hours in the fridge, then reheat in a pan until bubbling hot.

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