Untitled design(2)It’s officially Fall and the weather is starting to cool off. Yay! I love Fall weather! I’ve been in the mood for a nice warm stew for dinner. This recipe is one of my absolute favorites.

It uses lamb, which is an excellent red meat that you may not even consider when planning your weekly menu. Lamb offers high amounts of B-vitamins, selenium, zinc and omega 3’s (especially if grass-fed). It may sound exotic but it’s just as easy to make as beef.

I love the mix of spices. Ginger, turmeric, coriander and cinnamon are delicious and good for inflammation and digestion.

But the real treat in this dish is the fresh figs. Figs are high in fiber and minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and manganese. All minerals that are important for women. The high fiber makes them especially nourishing to your gut/intestines and helps if you run a little on the constipated side.

It’s funny how I’ve changed this recipe over time. This started out as Classic Lamb Tagine with Almonds, Prunes & Apricots by Ghillie Basan in Flavors of Morocco – which is delicious! But somewhere along the road, I had to omit or substitute an ingredient or two because I didn’t have it on hand or I wanted to experiment.   This is the version I make now.

I use bone-in meat to grab some of the nutrients from the bone. It requires a little more work at the end because I like to serve it without the bone. You can use boneless meat or serve on the bone and make everyone work for the meat.

Lamb Stew with Fresh Figs and Fennel

Serves: 4 – 6

Ingredients

2 red onions, finely chopped

2-3 garlic gloves, finely chopped

a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

1 tsp. turmeric

2 cinnamon sticks

1 tsp. ground coriander

2.5 lbs. bone-in lamb stew meat (1.5 – 2 lb. boneless from the shoulder, leg or shank)

10 fresh figs (if fresh figs not available use 6 dates and 6 prunes)

4 dates and/or prunes

2 fennel bulbs, sliced

1 tsp. lemon or orange zest

1-2 tbsp. honey

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300F.
  2. Heat the oil in the base of a Dutch oven.
  3. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until they begin to color.
  4. Stir in the ginger, turmeric, cinnamon sticks, and ground coriander.
  5. Toss in the lamb and sauté for 1-2 minutes, stirring to make sure it is coated in the onion and spices.
  6. Pour enough water to just cover the meat then bring it to a boil. Turn off heat, put the lid on and place in oven. Allow to cook for 1.5 hour, until the meat is tender and falling off bone.
  7. Add the fennel, figs, dates, prunes, and lemon zest. Put the lid back on and cook for another 20 – 30 minutes. Make sure there is enough liquid in the pot as you want the sauce to be syrupy and slightly caramelized, but not dry.
  8. Optional: Transfer lamb to a platter and remove bones with a fork. It should fall right off the bone in nice-sized chunks. Put the lamb back in the pot and mix it in well. You might want to warm for a few minutes.
  9. Serve immediately with rice or quinoa.