When we look through recipes online or in magazines, what really prompts us to go out of our way to make a list and head out to the store with the intention of buying all the ingredients specifically for that recipe we enjoyed looking at so much?
I look at food for a living, literally, and am incredibly delighted by the vibrant colors and gorgeous photography that exists in the blogosphere and in the publishing world. I can’t, however, make everything that awakens my stomach or inspires me to fly off the couch and dig into my cabinets for every spice listed in a recipe so that I, too, can make a gorgeous Thai noodle dish.
There is one Libyan dish, however, that prompted me to set out to use up our Qurbani meat to make this dish called Tbeikhet ‘Eid which features pumpkin, chickpeas and raisins. I liked the idea of using seasonal produce like pumpkin so much that I decided to give it a try, though digressing a bit by using other ingredients that I had at home that were in much need of being used:
and plantain, although a much more ripe one than any of these. It should actually be yellow with a lot of dark black spots on it- that’s a good thing when it comes to plantains, or plátanos, as we say in Spanish.
I also roasted my pumpkin because it’s thick skin was way too difficult to peel. Plus, I like adding seasonings to the pumpkin that go directly into the stew.
Recipes are like that, serving you as you let them- you can follow them exact or draw inspiration from them to create your own twist on a classic dish that just might become a new favorite. I know this recipe is now definitely one of ours…
What is the one thing about a recipe that inspires you to actually go through the steps to make it?
Lamb Stew with Pumpkin, Plantain, Sweet Potato and Chickpeas
This stew is incredibly flavorful and healthy. You can use water to cover, but now that there are high-quality halal vegetable and chicken broths, you don’t need to skip adding flavor and nutrition to this dish since their products are packed with nutrition-rich ingredients. Enjoy every bite!
3 pounds lamb shoulder with bones
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon turmeric
6-8 cups water or broth
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
½ teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
8 roasted garlic cloves or 4 raw garlic cloves
1 large sweet potato (skin removed), chopped into small chunks
1 large red potato, roughly chopped
1 ripe plantain, cut into bite-size pieces
2 cups seasoned, roasted pumpkin (alternatively, use pumpkin puree), roughly chopped
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 bunch parsley or cilantro, roughly chopped
Before beginning this recipe, bring the meat to room temperature. This helps prevent the meat from tearing as it sautés.
Salt and pepper the meat on both sides.
In a large, deep-bottomed pan or Dutch oven heat the oil. Add the meat and brown on each side, about 5 minutes each.
Remove the meat from the pot and add the onions. Add the turmeric and sauté the onions until translucent.
Return the meat to the pot and cover with water or broth. Add black pepper and other dried herbs, sweet potato, red potato and plantain. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and add the pumpkin pieces or pumpkin puree. Cover and cook for about 1 hour on medium heat.
Taste and adjust for seasoning, particularly salt (the meat was salted at the beginning and if you used the roasted pumpkin recipe this one links to, it will also contain salt). If using pumpkin puree instead of the seasoned roasted pumpkin, you may need to add a 1 teaspoon of dried mint.
Add the chickpeas and half of the cut parsley or cilantro. Blend well into the stew. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook for another hour or even longer (ideally, it should cook for at least four hours, but if you don’t have that kind of time, 2 hours is still sufficient).
Before serving, mix in a bit more chopped fresh parsley or cilantro and save a little more for the top.