To balance the succulent, rich bites of lamb shoulder in this hearty stew, Food & Wine's Kay Chun includes tangy dried Blenheim apricots from California--not as sweet as their Turkish counterparts--which get soft and sweet as they braise. Serve alongside crusty bread or grains to soak up the juices.
Slideshow: Hearty Stews
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 leeks, light-green and white parts only, cut into 2-inch pieces
4 ounces dried California apricots (2/3 cup), preferably Blenheim
One 2-inch cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup panko
1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus leaves for garnish
Crusty bread, for serving
How to Make It
Step 1 make the stew
In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the leeks and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the leeks to a plate.
Season the lamb with salt and pepper and dust with flour; shake off the excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in the casserole. Add half of the lamb and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until browned, about 5 minutes; transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon. Repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and lamb. Return all of the lamb to the casserole and stir in the garlic, ginger and tomato paste. Cook, stirring, until the tomato paste is deep red, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook until almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the leeks, broth, tomatoes, apricots and cinnamon stick and bring to a simmer, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the lamb is tender, about 2 hours.
Step 3 meanwhile, make the topping
In a small skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the panko and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape into a small bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix in the lemon zest and parsley.
Discard the cinnamon stick from the stew. Ladle the stew into bowls and sprinkle with some of the topping. Garnish with parsley leaves and serve with crusty bread.
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