Braised Lamb & Chickpeas with Preserved Lemon

Braised Lamb 001b

This dish with its bright sunny coloured sauce, colourful vegetables and herbs and Moroccan flavours is perfect for brightening a dull summer’s day.

This is not a dish I would normally cook in the middle of summer but we had an unseasonably chilly day here in the Bay last week which had me thinking towards something a little more warming and hearty and this just seemed to fit the bill without being a big heavy winter dish.

I used lamb shoulder chops which are not a very attractive cut but are tasty, can often be found on special and perfect for cooking methods such as braising, casseroling and stewing.

I took inspiration for this recipe from one by Ray McVinnie which appeared in Cuisine Magazine in 2007 and is in the recently released Cuisine Cookbook, The Seasonal Cook, Fairfax Magazines 2013.

Braised Lamb & Chickpeas with Preserved Lemon
You could, of course, use dried, soaked and cooked chickpeas instead of canned, but this requires a little planning and this chilly day came a bit out of left field.

Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
750g lamb shoulder chops
1 medium onion (200g),chopped
1 medium carrot (200-250g), diced
2 sticks celery, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 tbsp coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
1 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted and crushed
1 tbsp finely diced preserved lemon
2 cups chicken stock
400g can chickpeas, drained
300g green beans, topped and tailed|
¼ cup roughly chopped coriander, plus extra leaves to garnish
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1              Place a 28 cm skillet which has deep sides and a lid over a medium heat and heat until pan is hot. Add oil, then lamb and cook for 3-4 minutes each side or until brown. Remove lamb from pan and set aside.

2              Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, turmeric, ginger, coriander and cumin seeds to pan and cook, stirring, over medium heat for 10 minutes or until onion starts to soften – take care not to burn. If the pan seems a little dry, add a little of the stock to moisten.

3              Return lamb with any juices to pan, then added preserved lemon and stock, bring to simmering, cover and simmer for 1 hour or until lamb is tender.

4              Add chickpeas and beans and cook, for 10 minutes longer or until chickpeas are heated through and beans are cooked.

5              Remove pan from heat, stir in chopped coriander and season to taste. Stand covered for 10 minutes before serving – this allows the lamb and chickpeas to absorb the juices before serving.

 Serving suggestion: Scatter with coriander leaves and accompany with Israeli couscous.

Happy cooking and eating.

Recipe by Rachel Blackmore

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