This super easy lamb stew (called ‘aleb khodra) is almost identical to a French lamb stew called navarin printanier. The only difference is no eggplants are featured in the French one. The idea is to first cook the meat chunks (preferably with bones) and onions in water and herbs to make a good stock. Seasonal Spring veggies are then added and the stew simmers till done. If you own a pressure cooker (a favorite appliance in Lebanon) or a slow-cooker (a favorite in the US), it is the ideal appliance for this. I used potatoes, carrots, eggplants, onions, zucchini, green beans, fresh peas and tomatoes. In the French navarin, turnips are used. The idea is to use the seasonal, local veggies.
NOTE: Fresh local garlic is making an appearance in the corner produce markets in Beirut and throwing in a head of garlic in the stew (or just a few cloves) would be a good move.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 90 minutes
Passive Time: 90 minutes
1/4 cup olive oil extra virgin preferably
1 pound lamb shanks, cut-up in one inch pieces can substitute beef stew meat with bones
1/2 pound onions, chopped or pearl onions, peeled (see note)
1/2 pound carrots peeled and sliced
1/2 pound eggplant peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 pound potatoes peeled, cut into chunks (keep in water till needed)
1 pound tomatoes peeled and chopped (can use 3/4 cup tomato paste)
1/4 pound fresh peas shucked
1/2 pound zucchini sliced
11/2 teaspoon salt to taste
1 teaspoon black or white pepper to taste
3 bay leaves
6 garlic cloves or more, to taste
4 sprigs thyme or oregano
4 sprigs rosemary or marjoram
2 tbsp flour optional
1/2 pound green beans tips cut off and cut in half
1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot and brown the lamb pieces all over. Remove the lamb and add the onions and fry till golden. Sprinkle the flour, spices, garlic cloves, and about 6 cups of water, cover and simmer for 45 minutes till lamb pieces are tender.
2. Add the veggies to the stew starting with the potatoes, peas and carrots, tomatoes (or tomato paste); after 20 minutes, add the other veggies and simmer another 20 minutes. Let the stew rest for a while and serve warm.
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