Hi, my name is Ben. I am an enormously, epically, hugely, giantly, largely-big fan of THE HUNGER GAMES! I am here to do a quick book review before Paleo Spirit (aka my mom) shares a Hunger Games related recipe: Hunger Games Lamb Stew with Dried Plums!
The Hunger Games is set in North America near the capitol city Panem. Panem is surrounded by twelve districts which specialize in the production of one or more goods. Each year, the districts are forced to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the Hunger Games. During The Hunger Games the tributes are forced to fight to the death on television while the nation watches.
Katniss Everdeen is a 16 year old hunter. She helps feed her mother and younger sister, Prim, by hunting outside the borders of their home in District 12. Katniss’ younger sister was selected for the Hunger Games. But Katniss stepped up and took her place in the Games. Before the games begin, the tributes are well fed and treated like royalty. During this Pre-Hunger Games time Katniss finds that her favorite meal served is the lamb stew with dried plums and wild rice.
The Hunger Games is overall a great book. (or series if you’ve read the other books) When recommending the book to others I commonly say: “This book is not under any circumstance to be used as a bedtime story for young children!” I think that kind of sums up my intensity rating for the book. My parents have not let me see the movie because it is rated PG-13. The thing I really like about the book is that the storyline plays itself out perfectly, keeping the reader excited, so excited in fact that it is hard to put the book down. There are almost no gaps that confuse the reader or unnecessary repetition of the same situation.(I have read books that repeat similar situations over and over again!) The book is great… But so is the lamb stew…
Now for the recipe
- 2 1/2 pounds boneless lamb, 1 1/2-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons fat for high temperature cooking (bacon fat, lard, etc.), divided
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 onion, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 cups carrots, approximately 6, roughly diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
- zest of one lemon
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup dried plums (preservative free), cut into halves or quarters
- 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves and more for garnish
- In a mixing bowl add 2 tablespoons of fat, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, cardamon and salt. Mix well until the mixture has turned into a paste.
- Add the lamb to the bowl and toss to coat well.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of fat in a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Add 1/3 of the lamb, and brown well. Remove to a plate, and repeat with remaining lamb.
- Add onions and carrots to the pan and cook for 5 minutes stirring to remove the browned bits of lamb from the bottom of the pan.
- Stir in the fresh garlic and ginger and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
- Return the lamb to the pot and stir in the lemon zest and chicken stock.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the lamb is tender.
- Add the quartered dried plums for the last 30 minutes of cooking.
- Stir in the chopped fresh cilantro.
- Adjust with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with remaining cilantro.
In the book The Hunger Games Lamb Stew with Dried Plums was served with wild rice. Since wild rice is a grass, not a grain, we figured it would be alright to create a side dish to go with the lamb stew. Stay tuned for that recipe for Wild Rice with Pistachios and Cilantro to be posted later this week!