I keep meaning to take a really sexy shot of this stew but then I ladle out a bowl and warm it up, and before I know it, it’s gone, leaving me with an empty bowl and no pictures.
Like all stews, this one is warm and comforting, with a velvety texture, and just a hint of of sweetness which makes a great foil for the lemon and bitter greens you add at the end.
Having this stew for dinner kind of reminded me of that part in The Wind and The Willows, after Toad escapes from prison and meets up with the Travelers and gets a bowl of stew. I remember so vividly the description of how warm, fragrant and tasty it was, how rich and full of good things, and how utterly comforted Toad felt. How he felt a little less alone in the world after he ate it. I was always charmed by that scene as a child.
No actual toad is used in this stew. Because, ew.
As with all my recipes, amounts are approximate. Use them as more of a guideline than anything else. Rather like the Pirate’s Code.
You will need:
lamb neck – I used 5 slices (2 packages, about 2 lbs) – with bone in
onion – chopped
garlic, to taste, I like a LOT of garlic so I used 6 cloves
shallots – 1 large – chopped
tomatoes – I used a combination of several large and some small tomatoes from my mum’s garden. It’s late in their season and the tomatoes were a little over ripe, but no matter. I chopped them up and threw them in. I’m gonna say maybe 2 cups? Ish? If you haven’t got garden tomatoes then just use a largish can of Italian plum tomatoes from Trader Joe’s or Pomi brand, or whatever.
yam or sweet potato – 1 very large or 2 smaller – chopped into chunks
carrots – 1 cup of baby carrots, halved
red bell pepper – 1 large
a bitter leafy green like kale or chard – chopped – a couple of very generous handfuls
*chickpeas – 1 can, drained and rinsed
mushrooms – a handful, about 5 crimini mushrooms, what I had left in a package
coconut cream – 1 can
lemon – 1, juiced
chicken broth – 1 32 oz package, organic (I like Pacific Foods brand)
**ras al hanout 1/2 tsp
cumin 2 tsp
crushed red pepper 1/2 tsp
ginger – 1 tsp
bay leaf – 1
red peppercorns – 5
salt and pepper to taste
First off, brown your lamb neck slices in a dutch oven and then set them aside in a bowl for a minute. Throw your chopped up onion, garlic and shallots into that same pot, and cook them until they are just starting to turn translucent. Don’t cook them till they are done. Then deglaze the pan briefly with a little of your chicken broth, and into that you want to add your ras al hanout, cumin, red pepper flakes, ginger, peppercorns, coconut aminos and bay. Pour the onion/spice mixture into your crockpot and then layer your ingredients over them as follows: yam, peppers, carrots, chickpeas, tomato, mushrooms, lamb neck slices. Pour the rest of your chicken broth over this mixture, add your can of coconut milk, and let it cook on low for about 5 hours. Just leave it alone as it simmers. After 5 hours, you’ll want to taste, stir it well, and adjust for seasonings. This is when you can throw in some salt and pepper if you like, add your lemon juice (to taste, add a little at a time till you’re happy with the flavor). Take the lamb neck bits out and remove the meat from the bones. Toss in your handfuls of greens, return the meat to the pot, stir and let it cook for another hour, if you can wait that long.