This recipe is a special request from my dear friend Jen who has been so enthusiastic over the years about my cooking that it was a big encouragement to start the LAB kitchen.
Jen has a bag of quinoa like my bag of lentils: something bought and then forgotten at the back of the pantry. I was asked to come up with a recipe to use quinoa which I was more than happy to do as quinoa is not neglected but much loved in my house.
One of my favourite quinoa recipes is a corn and quinoa salad from Rebar, but I wanted to do something a bit different with quinoa and the weather was cooling as we head into Winter in Australia. So I have made a quinoa and lamb stew.
The quinoa, like barley or potato in other stews, adds some body and absorbs all the beautiful flavours in the pot. Quinoa also contributes a slightly nutty flavour and another source of protein. This would be a perfect dish to throw in a slow cooker in the morning so you can come home to a hearty home-cooked warming dinner.
I guess this means I’m taking requests for recipes, so feel free to make requests and I’ll see what I can do!
Lamb and Quinoa Stew
Serves 6-8, 20 minutes preparation plus 1 (or more – for deeper flavour) hours cooking
500 gms to 1 kg of diced lamb (depending on how meaty you want the stew) – this would also be good with lamb shanks
2 tbs of flour
2 tsp of salt (Rosemary salt is best)
2 small onions, diced
4 carrots, diced
4 sticks of celery, diced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
Herbs – I like thyme and rosemary
800 gm can of diced tomatoes
1 ½ cups of quinoa
3 cups of liquid – either all stock or half stock and half red wine
Extra vegetables if desired – like mushrooms, beans, zucchini, eggplant
Oil, a few tablespoons
Salt and pepper to taste
Lightly coat your lamb in flour and salt.
In a large heavy pot, fry the lamb in a little oil until browned, this adds great flavour to the dish. The early stages of a stew – browning the meat, frying the vegies, then simmering – is about building layers of flavour and depth into the final dish.
Most recipes recommend removing the lamb and then frying the onion, celery and carrot, but let’s be honest with each other, that’s too much hassle. So I added the onion, celery, carrot and garlic to the pot with the lamb, so sue me convention. Cook until the vegetables go slightly translucent.
Add the herbs, tomatoes any extra vegetables that need a longer cooking time (I had mushrooms) and enough liquid to cover the meat and vegetables. Place the lid on the pot and simmer for at least half an hour, if you can leave it to cook for up to 1.5 hours that would be better.
Half an hour before you want to serve, add the quinoa and remaining liquid, plus any shorter cooking time vegetables you want to add. I added zucchini and beans, next time I’d probably just serve them steamed on the side. Simmer for 20 minutes and then turn off the stove and let the pot cool a little with the lid on for 10 minutes.
Serve with crusty fresh bread. This stew was delicious the next day when the quinoa had absorbed even more flavour.