Pecan-Topped Moroccan Lamb Stew

A good stew is hard to find. I’ve always taken “stew” to mean “cooked to death and rendered completely tasteless”. My palate leans towards bold flavour and spice. Cooking root vegetables and meat together until neither tastes like anything is not my idea of a good meal.

This stew is different.

In my opinion lamb automatically makes everything better. Especially when it’s delicious pastured lamb. The strong flavour mellows a bit when cooked in a stew, but unlike beef, it really holds its own. I used lamb shanks for this dish but stew meat would work equally well. The benefit to using a cut with some bone is twofold. One, you get the flavour from the marrow leaching into the dish. Two, it’s easy to tell when it’s perfectly done… you just cook until the meat falls off the bone.

The spices in this dish are complex. Cinnamon and ginger mingle with garlic, coriander and cumin. Although I like my food spicy, I didn’t make this dish hot because I wanted the cinnamon to shine. The flavours really bring out the sugar in the sweet potato carrot in sharp contrast to the acidic nature of the tomato. A little red wine vinegar boosts the flavour and, in my opinion, pulls everything together nicely.

Serving it up

I’ve opted to make this dish without white potatoes in the stew -instead, I serve it on a bed of Brown Butter and Garlic Whipped Potatoes. If you want to be more authentic about it, couscous is an acceptable substitute. That said, I think the smooth texture of the whipped potato pairs perfectly with the slightly chewy lamb and root veggies.

As a final note, DO NOT omit the toasted pecan garnish. Although it may seem like an afterthought, the nutty flavour and crunch really make this dish special. Pecans knock this stew right out of the park. Just do it.

Print Recipe
Pecan-Topped Moroccan Lamb Stew
Course Main Dish
Cuisine African
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 3-4 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Dredge
Main Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine African
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 3-4 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Dredge
Main Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Make the dredge by combining all the ingredients in a bowl or plastic bag and mixing well.
  3. Place 3 Tbsp. olive oil and the red wine in the bottom of a dutch oven. Add sweet potato, onion, carrot and tomato.
  4. Place 3 Tbsp. of olive oil in a large cast iron pan. Heat the pan to medium on a burner.
  5. Dredge the lamb in the flour mixture and then place carefully in the pan so that no 2 pieces are touching. Cook in batches if necessary.
  6. Cook the lamb a couple of minutes on one side, then turn. Brown each side for a couple of minutes, then place lamb pieces on top of the veggies in the dutch oven.
  7. Add the garlic, ginger, and crushed chilis to the pan and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes until fragrant.
  8. Pour the red wine into the pan, and stir quickly, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Remove from heat.
  9. Pour garlic and ginger mixture over the lamb and vegetables.
  10. Stir the remaining dry spices together and sprinkle over the ingredients in the dutch oven.
  11. Cover the dutch oven and place in the oven. Allow to cook for 2 hours, then stir gently. If the stew looks dry add 1/4 cup water. Reduce the heat to 300°F. Cook for another 1-2 hours. Stew is done when the lamb and veggies are very tender.
  12. Place the chopped pecans in a dry skillet and toast on a medium burner, stirring frequently. Remove them as soon as they start to smell and look toasty. Be careful not to let them burn.
  13. Serve the stew with Brown Butter and Garlic Mash or couscous. Top it with the toasted pecans and a sprinkling of chopped cilantro.
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2 comments

  1. Amazing Sue .Now I have to make a trip into see our friends at D’aubins Family Meats to pick up some ingredients to make this . I have never tried lamb before which is strange because I am pretty adventurous in the kitchen

    1. Thanks Cory, hopefully you’ll approve. Lamb has a strong flavour but it’s absolutely delicious. It’s a little like deer. That said, I HATE deer and LOVE lamb so the resemblance can’t be too close.

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