So unless you were hiding under a rock earlier this year, you probably heard about a little book trilogy called “The Hunger Games”. And unless you were hiding in a cave, covered by a boulder, you probably saw or a least saw something about the movie version of the first book. Set in a post apocalyptic society where chosen “tribute” children have to fight each other to the death in a televised survival game, the books tell the story of Katniss Everdeen and how she copes with being thrown into an impossible situation. I absolutely loved the trilogy and one of the coolest things about the books is how descriptive Suzanne Collins is about the food in the Capitol. Katniss describes one of her favorite foods in the book, a lamb stew with dried plums. Unfortunately, the stew did not make the movie. But that didn’t stop me from obsessing about it. Of course, since I also have a flair for the dramatic, we decided to have some fun with this episode…Serve with wild rice, cooked according to package instructions, some good, crusty bread and a nice red wine (Shiraz is delish with this)
**DBA Fun Factoid! I actually auditioned for a teeny, tiny role in this film-a role so small and insignificant, it got cut. What role you ask? The role of the woman who determines how many more leg waxing strips Katniss needs to be all smooth and pretty. Now before you fans of the book start rereading, I’ll save you the trouble. This was not a character in the book. The big line for this character?…When asked “One more or two” for the number of waxing strips to be used on poor Katniss, she smugly replies: “Two”.
I kid you not, folks. I guess if the lamb stew didn’t make it into the film, then why the hell should some crazed beautician on a waxing power trip? Ah, showbiz…
LAMB STEW WITH DRIED PLUMS
*A note from the Badass herself: Don’t be intimidated by the exotic spices and somewhat long list of ingredients. This stew is totally worth it! As far as yield goes, this recipe will feed 6-8 hungry adults very nicely J Plan for at least 2-3 hours of prep/cooking time.
Here’s what you’ll need:
The star of this dish:
3 lbs lamb meat (shanks, leg or any stewing cut) trimmed and cubed into ½ to ¾ inch pices
For the dredge you will need:
3 Tbs flour
¼ tsp Kosher salt
½ tsp each of the following:
fresh cracked white pepper
Herbs de Provence
For the Roux you will need:
3 Tbs flour
½ stick of butter
½ tsp each of
cracked white pepper
Herbs de Provence
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3½ -4 cups cubed (½ inch pieces) white or red potatoes (6-8 potatoes, depending on the size)
4 large carrots, cut into ¼ inch pieces (slice diagonally aka “bias cut”)
1 cup fresh or frozen baby peas
¾ cup dried plums, diced (you may see them as “prunes” in the grocery store)
And of course, our liquids:
2 quarts lamb stock (recipe on page…) if you don’t have lamb stock, veal or veggie will work
1 cup red wine (I use Shiraz)
2 TBS balsamic vinegar
PS: You will also need at least a 4 quart cooking vessel with a fitted lid. I use a Tagine, but any large heavy pot will also do-just make sure it’s large enough or your stew may bubble over and make a mess. And we all know that messes are not Badass… You can even make this in a slow cooker-just brown the lamb, onions and garlic on the stovetop first.
So, here’s what you do:
Make the Roux:
Put the flour and spices in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter on medium high heat.
Add the flour and spice mixture and cook on medium-medium high for about 2-3 minutes or until mixture starts to brown. Remove from heat.
Prepare the dredge:
Mix all the Dredge ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
Brown the lamb and aromatics (aka onion and garlic):
In a large bowl, combine the lamb cubes and Dredge mixture and toss to coat the cubes evenly. Heat the oil in your cooking vessel of choice and when it is hot, carefully add the lamb cubes and stir to separate them. Cook on high for 1-2 minutes, until lamb starts to brown.
Add the onions and garlic and cook another minute or two until onions start to turn a little translucent and soft.
Incorporate the liquids:
Add the wine and balsamic vinegar, taking care to not inhale the fumes!
(Balsamic emits VERY strong fumes when it gets hot). Stir. Add ½ the Roux and stir to incorporate it throughout. Add the stock and stir thoroughly.
Bring on the veggies!
Add the potatoes, carrots, peas and dried plums, followed by the other ½ of the Roux and stir thoroughly to combine.
The waiting is the hardest part…
Cover and turn heat to medium low. Simmer for at least one hour or until potatoes and carrots are tender. When stew is done, taste and add salt if needed ( I usually add about ¼-½ tsp of Kosher salt to finish the stew)
The Badass says: “This stew is ahh-mazing served over wild rice! Add some fresh, crusty bread and a nice glass of Shiraz and you’ll feel like you’re in The Capitol!”