Thursday, March 22, 2012

Algerian Style Lamb Stew

Paul loves to browse estate sales and sometimes he picks up some treasures, for instance, he picked up a cookbook – Real Stew. Being a stew loving kind of guy, that fifty cent cookbook was right up his alley. We looked in the lamb stew section together and decided on a spicy white bean and lamb pot o’ stew. It was delicious, and since Paul had pressure canned white beans last summer and I didn’t necessarily feel like cooking dried beans from scratch, well you know what happened. It calls for Harisa, a North African spice paste that you can make from scratch or buy a tube, like I did. Here’s my version of this Algerian housewives stew. Enjoy.

1 ¾ pounds boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut in ¾ inch pieces
1 tablespoon salt, more to taste if needed
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Harisa paste (available in Mediterranean markets)
1 ¾ pounds onions, coarsely chopped
1 ½ pounds tomatoes, chopped (I used 1 pint home canned)
1 cup water
½ cup chicken broth
2 cups cooked white beans
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Season the meat with salt, pepper and cayenne. Brown in a heavy pan – I used a 3 ½ quart enameled cast iron pot. Brown the meat with the bones if you have them. Add the harisa, stir, then add the onions and tomatoes, water and chicken broth. Cover and cook in 350° oven for 2 hours.

Add beans, stir, put back in the oven until meat is tender, 1 to 1 ½ hours. Taste for seasoning. Serve with cilantro.

No pictures this time, but I did put together a short lamb stew making video, my first attempt. I hope you don’t get bored!


You may not have heard of Jonathan Waxman, but he’s a chef of great renown. And he’s really renown for his roast chicken, of which he is an acknowledged master. Recently I was reminded of this and decided to roast me up some chicken after finding his recipe online. Mainly he splits the chicken down the middle, removing the spine, salts and peppers it and roasts it in a hot oven. Now, I like my chicken really tender so I ended up reducing the heat and roasting it longer. When I make it again I plan to roast at 425° for 30 minutes and 350° for 30 to 45 minutes. Now what really makes this chicken sing is his salsa verde. It’s a sauce of garlic and several herbs and olive oil, etc. It does include tarragon, not usually a favorite, but it does give an interesting flavor. Leave out anything you hate. I used it for pizza sauce on my thin crust pizza. You can get the recipe here. Try it, I dare you!