Lamb Stew with Apricots

IMG_2442We love this easy Lamb Stew with Apricots recipe. It's a great starting point for experimenting with North African flavors. The dried apricots begin to break down during cooking and make for a slightly sweet gravy that is punched up by the addition of heat via chillies.

images-396Perhaps the best thing about this lamb stew recipe is that it adapts easily to your own preferences - and to what's in your pantry.  Use dried chillies for more heat; add peas and potatoes for a more conventional dish; or, if you're feeling especially bold, you might even try adding Moroccan tagine-inspired spices such as turmeric, cumin cayenne, cinnamon, saffron and paprika.    

LAMB STEW WITH APRICOTS

Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 lbs boneless lamb shoulder
  • 1 large onion, halved & sliced thinly
  • 3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1-2 fresh red chillies, minced (or 1-2 dried chillies for extra spice)
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cup dried apricots (unsulphured)
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Optional additions:

  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 1 large carrot, chopped into 1 1/2" pieces
  • 6-8 fingerling potatoes, cleaned

Directions

  1. Cut lamb into 1 1/2" chunks, sprinkle with salt & pepper. Mix thoroughly
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in deep pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot, brown the meat in batches, adding oil if needed. Remove browned meat to bowl.
  3. Leave about 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil in the pan, and lower the heat. Add onion & garlic, season with salt & pepper. Cook, stirring often until onion is soft & translucent. Add ginger & chili, stir for about 30 seconds.
  4. Return lamb to pan, add chicken stock & bring to boil. Lower heat, cover pan and simmer about 15 minutes.
  5. Add apricots into pot, ensuring they are covered by liquid. At this point, add fingerling potatoes, carrots or any other optional hard vegetables.
  6. Cook for 15 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning. Remove lid, simmer for another 30 minutes or until lamb is tender. (Add peas 5 min prior to finish, if using.)
If you have not added potatoes to the stew, serve with couscous or rice and garnish with a simple yoghurt-mint sauce (combine 1/2 cup plain Greek yoghurt with 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest, 1 tbsp of chopped fresh mint leaves, salt and pepper). This is a variation of Lamb Stew recipe by Susan Jung.

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