Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Moroccan Inspired Saffron Lamb with Dates

I've been working on slow cooked stews this week.  My husband is very happy about this.  He loves a meaty, melty, saucy dish.  And I have to confess, so do I.  

This one has lamb with chopped dates and saffron.  The dates disappear in the cooking and, along with the saffron, leave the stew with a delicious sweet flavor.  
I used inexpensive lamb cuts with bones.  This photo was taken before the lamb was removed, cut off the bones and returned to the pot.  
I cooked up some new potatoes and tossed them with butter.  We served these up in bowls and ladled the stew in on top.  

Really hearty, absolutely delicious and great for cold winter weather.

Saffron Lamb Stew with Dates

  • 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 lb. cubed lamb for stewing or use 2 lbs. of inexpensive bone-in lamb cuts
  • 1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 6 T olive oil
  • 1⁄4 tsp. saffron threads
  • 1 Tbs. peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 2 1⁄2 cups beef stock
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2  cup chopped dates
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 tangerine
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • New potatoes and butter
Put the flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag and shake to mix.  Add in the lamb cubes or bone-in pieces in batches and shake to cover with flour.  Add 3 T of the olive oil to a stew or soup pot over medium high heat.  When the oil is hot, drop in lamb pieces in small batches and brown, turning the meat occasionally to brown up all sides.  Remove lamb from pot and add 3 more T olive oil.  Put the onions, celery, carrots, ginger and saffron in the pot and turn the heat to low-medium and sauté slowly, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and onions are translucent.  Spend at least 20 minutes on this or up to 1 hour if you have the time.  Put the vegetable mixture in a ceramic baking dish with a lid, or a Dutch oven.  Layer the meat into the dish.  Add in the stock, tomatoes, dates and tangerine.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 ½ to 2 hours, or until the meat is soft and tender.  If you used larger lamb pieces, remove the lamb from the casserole and cut into bite-sized portions.  the fat off the casserole if necessary.  Skim fat from the surface if necessary.  Return the meat to the pot and stir into the sauce.  Serve with boiled small potatoes and butter.

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