This recipe goes into the category of  “Perfect Saturday Night Dinner.”  From the recent issue of Fine Cooking magazine (number 102), contributed by David Tanis,  it has a  sexy flavor with a North African flair. The many tastes in this meal reminded me of the exotic couscous we used to savor on cold Parisian evenings by the Seine.

(adapted from Fine Cooking magazine # 102)

For the Lamb
3 lb. boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and stuck with 1 whole clove
1 three-inch cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf

For the stew
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, cut into small dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 Tbs. paprika
2 tsp. cumin seed, toasted and ground
2 tsp. coriander seed, toasted and ground
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed
12 pitted prunes, halved
1/2 cup tomato purée
1 lb. medium parsnips, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the oven to 350°F.

Season the lamb with 2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. In a large Dutch oven combine the lamb, carrots, onion, cinnamon, bay leaf, and add water to cover. Bring to a gentle boil, cover and cook in the oven until the meat is very tender, about 2-1/2 hours. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve over a large bowl. Discard the vegetables and spices. Cool the lamb and broth, and refrigerate separately. Skim the fat from the broth before continuing.

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pan. Add the diced onion, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned. Add the garlic, paprika, cumin, coriander, and cayenne and cook, stirring for a couple of minutes.

Stir in the chickpeas, prunes, tomato purée, and a pinch of salt. Add the reserved lamb and 4 cups of the broth and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes and then turn the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the parsnips and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve sprinkled with cilantro.

to print the recipe, click here

Comments – this is an unusual stew in the sense that the meat wasn’t browned before braising.    If David Tanis wasn’t the man responsible for the recipe, I’d have had second thoughts about trying it, but he is one of the chefs devising the dishes at Chez Panisse,  the famous Berkeley restaurant.   If he skips the browning, I’ll skip it too. 😉   But, after the 2.5 hours of  braising in the oven, I wasn’t too optimistic.  The meat looked pale and bland, like hospital food.  Without much choice (apart from dialing for pizza),  I finished the stew, and it was like a Phoenix born from the ashes…. the dish beautifully came together!   The lamb was super tender, and the spices permeated the meat, perhaps better than when it’s browned in advance.

We enjoyed it with couscous and a little naan bread.

I had visions of a magic carpet ride!  Maybe it will happen to you too…  😉


(adaptado da revista Fine Cooking # 102)

Para o cordeiro
1.5 kg de perna de cordeiro cortada em cubos
sal e pimenta do reino
2 cenouras medias, cortadas em pedacos grandes
1 cebola media, descascada, cortada ao meio e com um cravo enfiado na polpa
1 pauzinho de canela
1 folha de louro

Para o ensopado
2 colher de sopa de. azeite
1 cebola grande amarela, picada
sal e pimenta do reino
1 dente de alho medio, picado
1 colher de sopa de paprica
2 colheres de cha de sementes de cominho, torradas e moidas
2 colheres de cha de sementes de coentro, torradas e moidas
1 / 2 colher de cha de. pimenta caiena
2 xicaras de grao de bico em lata, bem enxaguado
12 ameixas secas sem caroco, cortadas ao meio
1 / 2 xicara de pure de tomate
1 nabo descascado, cortado em pedacos
1 colher de sopa de coentro fresco picado

Aqueca o forno em temperatura media.

Tempere o cordeiro com 2 colheres de cha de sal e 1 / 2 colher de cha de  pimenta. Em uma panela apropriada para ir ao forno, combine o cordeiro, a cenoura, cebola, canela, louro, e adicione agua suficiente para cobrir a carne.  Leve a fervura, e coloque no forno por 2 horas e meia, ate que a carne fique bem macia. Passe a mistura por um coador e jogue fora os temperos e legumes. Deixe a carne e o caldo esfriar separadamente.  A gordura do caldo vai flutuar na superficie, remova o maximo que conseguir.

Aque  a o azeite em fogo medio/alto em uma panela grande. Adicione a cebola picada, uma pitada de sal, e pimenta preta e cozinhe, mexendo ocasionalmente, ate que fique macio e ligeiramente dourado. Adicione o alho, paprica, cominho, coentro e pimenta caiena e cozinhe, mexendo por alguns minutos.

Adicione entao o grao de bico, creme de tomate e uma pitada de sal, a carne reservada e 4 xicaras do caldo. Ferva por  5 minutos, diminua o fogo, tampe e deixe cozinhar por 10 minutos. Adicione os pedacos de nabo e cozinhe ate que fique macio, cerca de 10 minutos. Tempere a gosto com sal e pimenta, e sirva salpicado com o coentro.


  1. I love parsnip; it must go well with lamb, my favorite meat;
    But probably you heard of parsley root ?
    It is one of Polish national vegetables, added to make home – made broth, to marinate meats, to prepare salads…in my country, one can buy it easily although more and more often – more spicy in taste than sweet parsnip…I think I prefer it ..take care!


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