Recently my wife and I have been on a soup and/or stew kick, looking for new recipes to try as we worked our way through some of the oldies. By the time we had cycled through our tried and true chicken and beef stews, and even a pork pozole, I had found something new and interesting online, and found myself itching to create my own red lentil and lamb stew recipe.
I am not a finesse cooker and do not make fancy or delicate soups to be used as appetizers or palate cleansers, but rather tend towards heartier fare, something that can serve as an all in one meal, with my protein, carbs if any and a fair amount of vegetables all included. You know… a stew.
I’ve made more than my fair share of chili and beef stew, and have even worked out a pretty decent Mexican chicken stew recipe, but for this recipe I wanted to avoid my usual protein selections and work with something outside of the normal conventional animal production industry.
So we went with lamb, which in many regards is a healthier option than beef, especially when compared to beef raised in animal farming operations, but opt for grass finished lamb to make sure you aren’t buying diseased and inhumanely raised animals.
In addition to working with lamb in this stew, I wanted to add lentils to my diet, for many reasons, but primarily because they are good for keeping blood sugar levels down, thickening stews as they break down and they have a pretty attractive macro nutrient breakdown.
What else to include in my stew? I looked up a few recipes online and while not finding exactly what I was looking for, did see some interesting spice suggestions, but pretty normal fare for added vegetables.
So I decided to use a fairly standard mix of veggies to make sure that this lamb stew had some real nutritional value, an onion, few peppers, carrots and of course tomatoes. Plus garlic and cilantro, but I can’t imagine they really impart a ton of nutrition, just quite tasty.
And chicken stock. Always chicken stock in this house, I can’t even remember the last time I used beef stock. Homemade is the best choice, but not always feasible.
This lamb and lentil stew comes together in much the same fashion that I cook almost all of my stews…
1 – cook the meat in batches in a large stew pot, resulting in the meat being browned and fond being left in the bottom of the pot
2 – remove the browned meat and add the veggies and let them sweat, helping to dissolve the fond from the first step
3 – add spices and garlic and stir until fragrant
4 – add wet ingredients, such as tomatoes and stock and bring to simmer
5 – add meat back in and any other ingredients still yet to be included, such as potatoes and or lentils
6 – simmer for an hour or more, as needed, until done
Sure enough, my stew template worked wonders with this recipe, very happy with the results! Perhaps the biggest difference between this recipe and others is that preparing the lamb took significantly longer than the other proteins I am more used to working with.
While lamb has a reputation for being fatty, the bulk of that fat is located on the outside of the meat and not marbled the same way beef is, so it took a while to trim and cube the stew meat. Also, butchers and grocery stores often have beef already cubed and waiting for you at the store, not so much for lamb.
Red Lentil And Lamb Stew
- 3-4 pounds boneless lamb shoulder
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 2 Pablano peppers chopped
- 2 red bell peppers chopped
- 3 garlic cloves pressed
- 1 tbls paprika
- 1 tbls sea salt
- 1 tbls cumin
- 1 tbls curry powder
- 1 lg can diced tomatoes
- 1/2-1 jar jarred curry sauce
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 3 carrots chopped
- 3 Yukon gold potatoes chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro chopped
- 1 cup red lentils
- trim fat from lamb and cut into small bite sized pieces
- chop and prepare all of the ingredients and set aside to be ready
- over medium heat, melt coconut oil in large pot and brown lamb on all sides in two batches so that you don't overcrowd the pot
- once the lamb has browned, remove from the pot and set aside, leaving the sticky brown bits on the bottom of the pan
- add the onion, Pablanos and bell peppers to the pot and cook for about 10-15 minutes until they release their moisture and start to brown lightly
- add the garlic with the paprika, salt, cumin and curry powder, stir and cook until very fragrant but don't let the garlic burn
- add the tomatoes and however much of the jarred curry sauce you'd like to use and stir thoroughly to combine
- add the chicken stock or broth and bring to a simmer or slow boil
- add the carrots, potatoes and cilantro
- bring the stew to a simmer
- about 40 minutes before you would like to serve the stew, add the red lentils and keep cooking at a simmer
- 5-10 minutes before you would like to serve the stew, turn the burner off and let the stew cool down a bit so you don't burn your mouth!
- serve with a side of yogurt or sour cream if you'd like…
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