I’ve been pretty quiet on the writing side of late — a bit of burnout, I guess, mostly from work and dealing with family issues. My wife is executor of her mom’s estate, and although I’m trying to keep an arm’s length from the matter, some relational speed bumps have arisen, which are hard to entirely shut out. I have gotten wrapped up in similar conflicts before, and some of the same issues (and players) are at it again.
So I’ve been focusing on more relaxing pastimes to stay sane, including (re)learning to play the guitar (more on this anon) and cooking. In a moment of inspiration today, I decided to cook up a lamb stew. Despite being pretty much off-the-cuff, it turned out outrageously well (if I do say so myself — and my wife agrees) — so here it goes:
1 leg of lamb, trimmed, boned & cubed
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp garlic oil
4-5 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp sea salt
4 Medjool dates, pitted
Place all of the above in a large bowl, and marinate for 1-2 hours, stirring periodically. While you’re waiting, prepare & cook the vegetables:
2 onions, sliced
3 carrots, sliced
3-4 tbsp olive oil
Saute the vegetables in a Dutch oven about 15 minutes until the onions soften. Remove from the pan.
Drain the marinade, and brown the lamb in the Dutch oven. Remove from the pan.
6 Roma tomatoes, pealed & coarsely chopped
Saute the tomatoes until dissolved. Add the marinade. Add the following spices:
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tbsp ground ginger
1/2 tbsp alspice
1/2 tbsp nutmeg
2 tbsp tomato paste
6 Medjool dates
1 cup chicken stock.
Add the meat, onions and carrots to the pan with the tomato saute, and add the dates and the stock. Stir well, cover, and cook over low heat for about 1 hour.
Remove the meat and vegetables from the pan, leaving the gravy. Turn up the heat and uncover to cook the liquid down a bit.
Thicken with a flour-butter roux (about 1-2 tbsp butter/flour)
Garnish with slices of roasted red bell peppers, and serve with curry couscous and fresh steamed green beans with lemon butter.
Seriously yummy comfort food for a winter’s eve.
Give it a go — it’s an easy meal (total prep & cook time about 3 hours), and well worth it.
Back soon, God bless.