Friday, January 31, 2014

Gluten-Free Moroccan Lamb Stew

I recently discovered gluten-free brown rice couscous and it inspired me to make a traditional Moroccan Lamb and Apricot stew. This meal is not only hearty but incredibly flavorful. The combination of the spices, herbs and lemon result in a fresh, savory, delicious dish. It's a great option for a Sunday soup as it tastes just as great the second day. I hope you enjoy it as much as my husband and I do!

Finding gluten-free nuts and dried fruits
It can often be challenging to find nuts and dried fruits in the supermarket that don't include a warning about their manufacturing process. Most dried fruits and nuts seem to have been manufactured around wheat and other allergens. Fortunately, there's a great online source for nuts, dried fruits, and other goodies called "Nuts.com." I highly recommend using this site because they have amazing customer service and a great selection of everything from almond flour (organic) to dried apricots—all gluten-free. 

This recipe yields approximately 6 servings

Ingredients
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 1/2 pounds trimmed boned lamb shoulder, cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch pieces
4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 bag of frozen spinach
1 15 1/2-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained
1 cup dried apricots
1 15 1/2-ounce can of diced tomatoes, chopped
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Also recommended:
Gluten-free couscous
Slivered Almonds
Lemon peel
Fresh mint

Instructions
Mix the first 6 ingredients listed in large bowl. Add the lamb and toss to coat. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the lamb to the pan and cook until browned on all sides, turning occasionally and adding 2 more tablespoons of oil to the pan between batches, approximately 8 minutes per batch. Transfer lamb to another large bowl after each batch.

Add onion and tomato paste to drippings in skillet. Reduce heat to medium; sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add broth, garbanzo beans, apricots, tomatoes, spinach, cinnamon sticks, ginger, and lemon peel and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Return lamb to skillet and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until lamb is just tender, about 1 hour.

While the stew is slow-cooking, prepare the couscous to the packaging's specifications. Once it is fully cooked, toss the couscous with chopped mint, toasted slivered almonds, and grated lemon peel, then set aside. 

Uncover and simmer the stew until it thickens enough to coat a spoon, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and pour over the bed of couscous. Enjoy!

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