lamb & cauliflower stew
2 tbsp butter
5 tbsp olive oil
2 lbs boneless lamb shoulder
waxy fat trimmed and cut into 2" pieces, see notes
freshly ground, to taste
finely ground
5 cloves garlic
3 whole plum tomatoes
diced small
2 large red onions
about 4 heaping cups diced small
1 head cauliflower
small, or half a large head, stems peeled and chopped fine, head broken up into small florets (in whatever size you'd like to see in a spoonful of stew)
1/3 cup white wine
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
5 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water
1/3 cup harissa paste
8 whole pitted dates
roughly chopped
preferably grey salt if available, to taste
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 cup sliced almonds
At a recent dinner party with our old neighbors, they told us about their favorite recipe from their Soup Sunday ritual. We snapped photos of this recipe from their cookbook, prepared it the next day, but didn't eat it until the day after because stews like this are always better after resting overnight in the fridge. We cook this recipe over the span of 2 days, but you can also just cook the whole thing in one fell swoop. Since our 3-year-old daughter is still sensitive to heat from spices, we transfer part of the stew into a smaller pot before adding the harissa, details below.
day 1
Preheat the Dutch oven. Warm the oil and butter over medium-high heat.
Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Brown in batches on all sides, then rest the meat in a separate bowl and repeat as needed.
Add the garlic, tomatoes, onions, and cauliflower stems to the pot. Cook for 8-10 minutes until moderately browned.
Add the wine, tomato paste, cumin, and cinnamon. Cook for 3 minutes.
Add the browned lamb and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Decrease heat to medium low, then cook partially covered for 2 hours.
Mix in the cornstarch slurry and bring to a boil again. If serving this stew to small children, separate a portion of it at this point.
Reduce the heat to medium and mix in the harissa, dates, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Exclude or reduce the harissa in the portion reserved for children.
Break up the stew into meal-sized portions if needed then cool and store in the fridge overnight. We usually transfer what we plan to eat the next day into a smaller Dutch oven.
day 2
Reheat the stew. If you have enough time, warm it over low heat for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Otherwise bring the pot to a boil then let it simmer on low while you finish preparing the toppings.
Line a small baking sheet with foil and preheat the broiler. In a large heat-safe bowl, melt the butter then whisk in the paprika, salt, and pepper. Add the cauliflower florets and toss until evenly coated. Transfer the cauliflower to the baking sheet and broil for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, brown the almond slices in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Toss periodically. Transfer the almonds to a separate container once toasted.
Shake and rotate the baking sheet and broil the cauliflower for another 5 minutes or until the cauliflower is lightly charred.
Serve the stew in bowls and top with the almonds and charred cauliflower florets.
source: adapted from Saveur: Soups & Stews
On the day we decided to buy the ingredients to make this dish, we could only find a whole lamb shoulder, bone and all, at our local butcher. After breaking down the meat, we roasted the bones at 425°F for an hour then added them to the pot. Once cooking was complete, we scraped any remaining meat off the bones and added them to the stew.