First – some pictures from my run this morning – just because it was pretty. I met some very nice cows and had a gorgeous view of the Aare Valley toward the Thun and the Alps. Spring is definitely starting to show, what with the calves and the little lambs I saw (no pictures there – the farmer was busy cleaning the paddock).
These past few weeks I’ve been trying to clean out my freezer. We bought a very large one for the basement when we moved in, thinking that it would be perfect for the ice cream attachment for out KitchenAid stand mixer. However, all too soon it filled up with other things – mainly leftovers and meat.
But in order to make room for the ice cream attachment (summer will be here before you know it!), I need to make space. Plus, what’s the point of having a freezer full of meat if you never actually use the meat??? So yesterday I dug up a package of lamb pieces – pretty much offcuts: bits of breast, shank, etc. All super tough cuts – perfect for braising.
Spiced Lamb with Squash and Couscous
Servings: 4 – 6 Time: 3hr 30mins
Warming and lush – a great way to use tougher cuts of lamb on or off the bone. Make the apricot garnish well in advance – preferably the night before, but at least 3 hours before serving dinner.
24 dried apricots
500 ml water
175 g sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 fresh Thai chili, halved lengthwise
2 – 3 T Olive Oil
3 medium onions, finely diced
1 kg, bone-in lamb pieces
Salt and pepper
3 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground turmeric
Pinch saffron threads, lightly crushed
1 lt. Chicken broth
2 cans chickpeas (500 g drained)
350 g butternut squash, large cubes
2 large carrots, peeled and large cubes
300 g new potatoes, halved
Couscous for serving
For the apricot garnish:
1. Bring the water to a boil, add the apricots and turn off the heat, leaving to soak for at least 2 hours. Remove the apricots, chop coarsely and return to the soaking liquid along with the cinnamon and chili. Bring pan to a simmer over medium heat, add sugar to dissolve and simmer until thickened, approximately 15 minutes. Set aside until room temperature, and place in a serving bowl.
For the lamb:
1. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onions and sauté until tender.
2. Season the lamb generously with salt and pepper and add to the onions, turning until brown all over.
3. Add ginger, turmeric and saffron and stir for 1 minute.
4. Add broth until lamb is nearly submerged, cover, and set to low heat for 2.5 hours, turning every 20 minutes or so. Add more broth if needed – the lamb should never be more than 1/3 exposed out of the cooking liquid.
5. When the lamb is meltingly tender, add in the chickpeas, squash, carrot and potatoes, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, approximately 30 minutes. Remove lid, and cook down until the sauce is thick.
6. Serve with prepared couscous, topped with the sweetened apricots and chopped cilantro.