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Middle Eastern Slow-Cooked Stew with Lamb, Chickpeas and Figs

Yields1 Serving

 a drizzle of canola or olive oil
 1 1/2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, trimmed and cubed
 3 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
 4-6 garlic cloves, crushed
 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
 1 cinnamon stick
 1 can less-sodium beef broth
 1 19 oz. (540 mL) can chick peas,  drained
 1-2 cups baby carrots
 1 cup dried figs, halved
 salt and pepper
 fresh mint, if you like

Slow-cooker version: heat a drizzle of oil in a skillet and brown the lamb in batches, without crowding the pan, transferring to the slow cooker as you go. (No need to cook them through, just brown them to add flavour.) Add a little more oil and then brown the onions and garlic; add to the slow cooker. Pour about 1/2 cup of water into the skillet and scrape up any browned bits; add to the slow cooker along with the ginger, spices and stock. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. At around the 4 hour mark, add the chick peas, carrots and figs. When you're ready to eat, season with salt and pepper and if you like, stir in some fresh mint (or scatter it on top).


Stovetop version: Heat a drizzle of oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat;  sauté the lamb in batches until browned. Remove from pan and set aside; brown the onions. Add the garlic and 1/2 cup water; cook for a few more minutes, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.


Return the meat to the pan along with the ginger and spices. Add the stock, cover, reduce heat and simmer for an hour. Stir in the chick peas, carrots, and figs; cover and simmer 20-30 minutes or until carrots are tender. Season with salt and stir in chopped fresh mint just before serving, or sprinkle it on top of each bowl.


Serves 8.