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Lamb Stew - with Shredded Ginger and Fennel

As a student, I had the good fortune to live in Damascus for a year. Syria is a fascinating country and throughout my stay there I was introduced to a host of wonderful dishes.

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 35 minutes
You’ll need a large stockpot.

Serves four

500g fresh lamb neck fillets
One large onion
Tablespoon olive oil
Four garlic cloves
One large aubergine
Half bulb fennel
100g fresh root ginger (Child’s hand size)
One tine of chopped or whole plum tomatoes
One tin of chickpeas
One teaspoon whole cumin seeds
One tablespoon whole coriander seeds
One tablespoon whole fennel seeds
Half a finely chopped dried red chilli
Sea salt and ground black pepper
Bunch of fresh coriander

Young lamb works best for this recipe, as you don’t have to simmer it for hours on the stove!

Get cooking...
Crush the cumin and fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar, and then add the coriander seeds. Grind the lot so that there are no whole seeds remaining (sawdust is what you are after rather than a fine powder). 

Cut the neck fillets into 2cm chunks and place in a bowl with the crushed seeds. Give it a good mix round with your hand to make sure every piece of meat is coated with the spices.  

Finely chop the onion. Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot, add the chopped onion and cook over a low heat until the onion begins to take on a little colour. Add the chopped garlic, turn up the heat a little and add the chopped chilli and the meat. Brown the meat on all sides.

Chop the aubergine into 2cm chunks and add this to the meat mixture and stir. 

Turn the heat down and add the tin of tomatoes with a little water, season to taste and cover the pan with a lid. Simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the drained tin of chickpeas together with the peeled and coarsely grated ginger and the coarsely grated fennel. Cook for a further ten minutes, add the chopped fresh coriander, stir in and remove from heat. Let stand for two or three minutes before serving. 

This dish goes well with couscous. 

Hungry for dessert?

Try Julia Bradbury's Ultimate Campfire Marshmallow S'Mores.

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