Moroccan Lamb Stew with Chickpeas and Prunes
Recipe created by Susan Spungen
Its gaminess finding a counterpoint in sweet flavors, lamb matches perfectly with prunes and apricots.

To build your off-the-cuff kitchen repertoire, take cues from the flavor combinations in The Creative Cook Menu.
Servings: Serves 6–8
  • 3 pounds cubed lamb stew meat
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3 tsp. salt , plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper , plus more to taste
  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large thinly sliced yellow onion
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas , rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup dried, pitted prunes or apricots (or a mixture of both)
  • 4 medium carrots , halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 package (12 ounces) couscous
Note: You can adjust the stew to your taste. Prunes make it sweet; apricots add tartness. If possible, toast and grind your own coriander and cumin seeds for the best flavor.

Preheat oven to 325°. Spread lamb on a large sheet tray and pat dry. In a small bowl, stir together coriander, cumin, ginger, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, then sprinkle over lamb and toss well to coat.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Arrange 1/3 of lamb in pot in a single layer and cook, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer lamb to a large bowl; set aside. Repeat with rest of lamb, adding 1 tablespoon olive oil for each batch.

Add onions to pot, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring often, until softened and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Stir in broth, scraping up any browned bits. Return lamb and its accumulated juices to pot. Add 2 cups water, cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon salt; stir well and bring to a boil. Cover pot with lid and cook in oven until lamb is just tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

Uncover pot; stir in chickpeas, dried fruit, and carrots. (Add more water if stew seems dry.) Cover pot; continue to cook until lamb is very tender, about 45 minutes. If desired, uncover pot and cook until thickened, 20 to 25 minutes more. About 15 minutes before serving, prepare couscous following package directions.

Remove stew from oven; discard cinnamon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle stew over couscous; serve.

Extra idea: Turn these same ingredients into a salsa/chutney to serve atop grilled lamb.


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