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Middle Eastern Inspired Lamb Stew

Middle Eastern Inspired Lamb Stew

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This recipe for Middle Eastern Inspired Lamb Stew is super easy to make.  Choice lamb stew meat from one of our favorite ranches is seasoned with a flour and sumac seasoning then is lightly browned and simmered with stock to make a flavor-rich stew.  The finishing touches are baby potatoes, green beans, and carrots.  Kind of the perfect wintertime dinner.  

Last month I had just made a steamy latte, turned on the computer, opened up the October issue of Saveur and was in the middle of reading A Shepherd’s Life when a new email came in.  Normally, I would have just kept reading, but I put the magazine down and opened my email.  Now don’t get me wrong the article was very interesting and I was very intrigued as it was about Basque sheepherders in Idaho.  There in front of me was an email from Annie and the subject line read “Chez Us & Grass-Fed Lamb”.  Quite strange as I was in the middle of reading about “grass-fed lamb”.  I opened the email and even odder was that Annie is from a ranch in the Lava Lake area of Idaho, exactly the same area I was currently reading about in Saveur.  I immediately put down the magazine and proceeded to read her email.

Annie is with a ranch called Lava Lake Ranch, they are an artisan producer of 100 percent grass-fed certified organic lamb.   They raise their lamb on a family-owned ranch near Sun Valley Idaho.  Not only are they raising grass-fed lamb but they are dedicated to the same values we have with regards to eating meat, “you are what you eat”.   Their lambs are raised without antibiotics, growth hormones and are never placed in a feedlot.  They only graze on what is certified as organic and they only drink their mother’s milk.   The end result is a very flavorful lamb.

After a few emails back and forth, getting to know each other better, Annie asked if we would be interested in trying their lamb.  The answer was simple as I have been looking for a lamb that is grass-fed as well as close to home.  

Normally I would have opted to make a lamb recipe using a Basque recipe as that is what I am familiar with when it comes to lamb.  Recently I have been really inspired by Middle Eastern recipes and we love the flavor profile.  

You may be asking yourself what is sumac?  Sumac comes from berries that are harvested from a bush that can be found throughout the Mediterranean, it is NOT related to the sumac plant in North America, which is poisonous.   Dried sumac is made by harvesting the berries, drying and crushing them.  It has a somewhat lemony flavor and a beautiful vibrant purplish-red color.  You will find it in the ingredient list for many Middle Eastern dishes.

For this recipe, I simply floured the lamb with the sumac and browned the meat until golden.  Then I used beef stock and let the lamb slowly simmer for a couple of hours.  I normally would have used a lamb stock but I did not have time to make one and it tends to be hard to find.  Minutes before serving I stirred in small yellow creamer potatoes, green beans, and baby carrots.  The lamb was amazingly tender, no gnawing through tough meat or struggling to cut each piece.  I love the green and slightly gamey taste of grass-fed meat, and this lamb was very pleasant as it was somewhat herb-like, a really nice compliment to the fresh vegetables as well as the lemon essence of the sumac.  I have had my fair share of lamb and I have to admit this was really the best lamb stew meat I have ever eaten!

Recipe:  Middle Eastern Inspired Lamb Stew


1 lb lamb stew meat
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon sumac
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sumac
salt, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups good beef stock
1/2 pound baby yellow creamer potatoes
1/2 pound green beans, ends snipped and cut in half
1/2 pound baby carrots, tops removed, left whole

How To:

Lightly toss the lamb with the flour and 1 tablespoon of sumac.  Brown in olive oil over low heat, do not use high heat or it will burn.   Once browned move the meat to a plate.

Add the onions to the pan and cook until slightly soft, about 5 minutes, add the garlic and give a quick stir.

Return the meat to the pan and add the broth, sprinkle the remaining sumac over the top.

Lower the heat to a low simmer, cover and let cook about 1 1/2 hours – 2 hours.  The longer it cooks the more the flavor develops.

About 20 minutes before serving to add the potatoes and green beans, cook for 10 minutes.

10 minutes before serving, lay the carrots on top, keep the heat at a low simmer and cover for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat.



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Thursday 19th of November 2009

Feed me now. Nom nom nom. I'm rarely brave enough to cook lamb, but will keep this in mind if I do. Love these flavors!


Wednesday 18th of November 2009

Great story! I have a very similar recipe that my mum gave me - we LOVE lamb stew and especially with those Middle Eastern Spices....