January started off unseasonably dry in southeast Michigan but don’t let that fool you! It appears that winter has headed our way. What better time than now to pull out the crock pot and assemble a hearty, nourishing and Moroccan inspired, lamb stew? Savory, sweet and earthy—all these flavors create a satisfying, one pot, winter meal.
Lamb is the perfect protein for this time of year. According to Traditional Chinese medicinal theory, all foods have specific properties that include a relationship to yin or yang, a thermal nature (think temperature), flavor and action that affects different organ systems.
What doe this mean? Certain foods are meant to be consumed during their corresponding season. For example, lamb is yang by nature. Yang is warming and lamb has a warming effect on the body that increases or tonifies Qi energy, internal warmth, and improves blood flow. Everything we need to keep warm during the winter months!
You can always substitute grass-fed, stew beef (also yang warming) for the lamb.
Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon cayenne peeper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
15 1/2 oz can of garbanzo beans, drained
5 garlic cloves (2 whole, 3 chopped)
1 large cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds 1″ cubes lamb shoulder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, diced
1 small butternut squash, peeled and 1” cubed
1 tablespoon chopped peeled ginger
1 cup canned diced tomatoes with juices
2 1/2 cups (or more) low-salt chicken stock
1/2 cup halved dried apricots (optional)
Steamed couscous or other grain
Chopped fresh parsley
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Season lamb with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown lamb on all sides, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer lamb to a medium bowl. Add onion to pot; reduce heat to medium, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until soft and beginning to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic, dry spices and ginger. Stir for 1 minute.
Transfer spiced onion and garlic mixture to crock pot. Add tomatoes, cinnamon stick, garlic cloves, garbanzo beans, butternut squash, dried apricots and lamb with any accumulated juices. Add 2 1/2 cups stock. Cook for 4-6 hours on low setting until tender.
Spoon couscous onto a large, shallow platter, forming a large well in center. Spoon Moroccan lamb stew into center. Sprinkle parsley over. Enjoy!