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WCC 23: Celebratory Lamb Stew with Olives and Caramelized Onions

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This month’s Weekend Cookbook Challenge is hosted by Mel’s Diner with the aptly chosen, Celebration Dishes as the theme. For this, I chose my newest cookbook, Nigella Express and made a lamb stew from it.

She calls it a tagine, but since I didn’t cook it in an actual tagine and I’m not familiar enough with Moroccan cooking to judge it’s accurateness, I’m certainly not going to call it a tagine. So, uh, no one get their knickers in a twist.

Anywho….I used a mix of olives here, mainly because that’s what I had — nicoise, kalamata and a handful of plain black, pitted olives. But, I’m thinking oil cured might be super tasty here. I also just made my own caramelized onions, rather than hunting down a jar of them (as the recipe calls for). I have never even seen jarred caramelized onions…maybe that’s a British thing? Another thing I changed is that I added carrots. I just felt the need for more vegetables with the big meatiness of the stew.

Let’s celebrate!

Lamb Stew with Olives and Caramelized Onions
Adapted from a recipe by Nigella Lawson
2 1/4 pounds diced leg of lamb
1 head garlic, separated into cloves
12 ounces pitted black olives in brine, 5 ounces drained weight to give 1 1/4 cups
1 white or yellow onion, diced roughly
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil
sprinkle of salt
3 tbsp capers
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground ginger
1 bottle red wine (I meant to use a merlot but I grabbed a cab by mistake — worked just fine!)
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots — about 1-2 inch pieces

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Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

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Preheat a pan over medium heat — preferably a big Dutch oven that you can layer the whole recipe into for its trip into the oven. Add the olive oil and then onions and honey. Give a small sprinkle of salt. Cook until light brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Turn the heat down if need be to keep from burning.

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Add the garlic, olives and lamb. Brown the lamb just for a few minutes, maybe 5 total, stirring a bit to get color on as many pieces as possible.

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Next, add the wine, the capers, and the ginger and cumin. Increase the heat to high, give it a good stir and bring to a boil.

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Put a lid on it and stick it in the oven for two hours total. After the first hour add the carrots and continue to cook until the lamb is super tender.

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We had this with some couscous that I cooked with chicken broth, about a handful of shelled pistachios and a handful of golden raisins. What were we celebrating? Ah, a cold December evening!

Thanks again to Mel’s Diner for hosting WCC this month!

5 comments to WCC 23: Celebratory Lamb Stew with Olives and Caramelized Onions

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