I took the concept of Marge Piercy's Cinnamon Lamb in her book, Pesach for the Rest of Us, and applied it to a stew since lamb stew meat is what I had on hand last night, along with two hungry men and a culinarily curious toddler for dinner.For most people, the word stew doesn't conjure up images of a quickie weeknight dinner. But trust me, you can make a stew quickly and easily. The only thing you need is enough lead-time to let it sit on the stove.
Part of what's simple about this is the ingredients. If you don't have nutmeg, for example, don't sweat it. Even drop the cinnamon if you don't have any or it's not your thing. A 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, or even all-spice might be nice. As for the wine, use red or white. No wine? Substitute stock.
This is a dish that's meant to be easy and stress-free. After all, you deserve a break.
Simplest Cinnamon Lamb Stew
2 pounds boneless lamb stew meat (such as as shoulder), cubed
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, sliced thin
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 cup wine
1 bay leaf
a few sprigs of parsley
Place the lamb in a glass bowl or baking dish and toss with cinnamon, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cover and place in refrigerator for up to 24 hours, or cook immediately.
In a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, sauté the pieces of lamb in the oil over medium heat. You may have to work in batches. Meat should be browned on all sides. When all of the meat is browned, add the garlic, carrots, celery and onion, and cook for about five minutes, stirring, until vegetables start to soften . Add tomatoes, wine and bay leaf. When mixture begins to bubble, reduce heat to low and cover.
Cook for 2 hours, or until meat falls apart when squeezed.
Serve over couscous or rice and garnish with chopped parsley.