I’ve been reminded recently that I’m very lucky to have had access to free, organic meat for twenty years. My parents have a hobby farm and have kept chickens, sheep, ducks, and pigs over the years. My father’s also a hunter and fisher, so I’ve had access to wild game and fish, too. I think I’ll come to appreciate just how lucky I’ve been once my parents sell the farm, which they’re getting ready to do. So, I kept that in mind while making this stew, knowing that the lovely shoulder roast I was using for this meal is part of a now finite stock. I hope I’m able to find local lamb of such quality once the last of my parents’ lamb is gone.
I removed the meat from the bones myself, including a small rack of ribs. We boiled the ribs with the other bones and fat, adding herbs, onion, and garlic. My mother then baked the ribs with herbs and barbeque sauce, while the rest simmered into a lovely lamb stock. (Making several things at once gives me a sense of resourcefulness that’s probably unearned.) Cutting the meat away from the bone, then chopping it into one-inch chunks is really the most difficult part of this recipe.
The second-most difficult part of the process for me was picking mint in the snow after dark. It felt quite adventurous, though, as we don’t usually get snow this early in the season and it actually stuck around until the next afternoon. The rest of the ingredients were easy to assemble and prepare.
This stew is a mixture of Indian and North African flavours, which work remarkably well together. Mint, curry, cardamom, honey, and figs flavour slowly braised lamb, while potato and apple slices steam on top. I served mine atop a slice of country bread the first night and rice the next. Both soaked up the lovely jus beautifully.
This dish was worth chopping up a shoulder roast and would work really well with pork, too. It would also be easily translatable to crock pot cooking – I can imagine using thickly-cut pork chops, in that case. But lamb, that would still be my first choice, even after my parents’ supply runs out.
You can find many other blogged descriptions of this week’s FFWD recipe here: Braised Cardamom-Curry Lamb