Savory Vegetable and Lamb Stew
- SERVINGS: 10
Michel Benasra's soothing dish is made with large chunks of lamb, a variety of vegetables and lots of broth; beef stew meat can be substituted.
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 pounds boneless lean lamb stew meat, such as shoulder, cut into 2-inch chunks
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 large onion, cut lengthwise into 8 wedges
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- Pinch of crumbled saffron threads (optional)
- 1 quart chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
- 5 medium carrots, quartered lengthwise and halved crosswise
- 3 large celery ribs, halved lengthwise and quartered crosswise
- 5 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and crosswise
- 10 small pattypan squash, trimmed
- Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large heavy saucepan. Generously season the lamb with salt and pepper. Working in 3 batches, sauté the meat over moderately high heat until browned all over, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer the meat to a platter.
- Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil to the saucepan and cook the onion wedges over moderate heat, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes. Transfer the onion wedges to the platter.
- Return the meat to the saucepan. Add the cinnamon stick, turmeric, saffron, chicken stock and 1 quart of water and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer until the meat is tender, about 1 hour.
- Add the carrots, celery and onion wedges to the saucepan and return to a simmer. Cook until the carrots are almost tender, about 15 minutes. Add the zucchini, pattypan squash and chickpeas and cook until the zucchini and squash are just tender, about 10 minutes longer. Discard the cinnamon stick and season the stew with salt and pepper. Transfer the stew to a bowl and serve.