I made this dish for dinner last Thursday on a damp, rainy day. It was perfect; warm and comforting with a great blend of spices. I ground my own cardamom from pods that I had and the smell and taste from them was amazing! I am going to have to use cardamom more often. This recipe comes from Barbara Lynch's new book, Stir. I have made a couple of recipes from this book so far and everyone has been a winner.
1 tbs ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbs canola oil, plus more as needed
2 lbs. boneless leg of lamb, trimmed, cut into 1-2 inch chunks
salt & pepper
2 medium carrots, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 cup dry red wine
4 cups beef broth
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 cup barley
1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled & diced
In a small bowl, combine the cumin, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the oil and let it heat up. Add the meat and let it brown very deeply on one side before turning it to brown all sides; this browning step, crucial for great flavor, can take as long as 10 to 15 minutes. Be sure there is space between the pieces or the lamb will steam instead of brown; sear the lamb in batches if necessary.
Transfer the lamb to a platter as it browns, and season it well with a few pinches of salt and a few grinds of pepper.Add a little more oil to the pot, if needed, then add the carrots, onion ,celery, and garlic. Season with a good pinch of salt and cook, stirring up the browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Reduce the heat if necessary and cook until the vegetables are lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the spice mixture and red wine, stir and cook over medium heat until the wine has reduced by about half. Add the beef broth and return the lamb to the pot, nestling it into the liquid. Cover the pot with the lid slightly askew and cook over medium-low heat for 1 hour. Add the prunes and raisins, cover, and cook for another 30 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, barley, and 3 cups water to the pot, cover and cook until the potatoes, lamb, and barley are tender, another 45 minutes to an hour, adding up to 1 more cup water if needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in bowls.