Winter is still with us, and I was planning on yet another stew, this time of lamb. However, as the weather was not as chilly, and as lamb is quite heavy in itself, I wanted a lighter stew with lighter ingredients in it.Inspired by the Sephardic “sopado” dish, in which met is slowly cooked with onion, tomatoes and a large amount of parsley, I started by adding roughly cut onions to the meat, which were lightly sautéed. Even though it’s not the season for ripe tomatoes, I’ve decided to use them for color and acidity, in the form of good quality canned ones, as for long stewing, this is the second best option.
While parsley is usually used in small quantities, as a flavoring herb, here it is used in a large amount , as if it was spinach. This results a wonderful, unique fresh flavor.
Regressing from the original Sephardic recipe., to round it all up, I’ve added to the pot some golden raisins and a small amount of orange blossom honey, for a bit of balancing sweetness.
The result was just what I was looking for: a hearty yet light stew. Another bonus is that this tasty stew is quite quick to prepare, and once the pot is placed in the oven all that is needed is to keep an eye on it occasionally, and let the heat do the rest of the work. Try it and enjoy.
* As the amount of sauce was more than what was needed for serving the meat, I used the leftover sauce as a base for cooking rice. The result was a wonderful rice dish, which can be served along with the meat, or on its own, the day after.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Braising time: 2 ½ hours
1 lbs (455 grams) lamb shoulder blade chops
1 Tbs light olive oil
2 medium onions, roughly cut
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground four peppers mix
¼ tsp hot paprika
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 large bunch parsley, roughly chopped (about 4 packed cups)
1 can (14.5 oz/410 grams) diced tomatoes
½ cup beef or chicken stock
1 Tbs honey, preferably orange blossom
For the rice (optional):
½ cup Basmati rice
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the lamb and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side. Add the onion, salt, pepper and hot paprika, mix gently and fry for 2-3 minutes, to coat the onions in the oil.
2. Add the raisins, parsley, tomatoes, stock, and honey. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
3. Preheat the oven to 250F (120C). Place the covered pot in the oven and braise for 1 hour. Lower the heat to 200F (95C), uncover the pot and keep on braising for 1 ½ hours, or until the meat is almost falling off the bones.
For the rice: measure 2 cups of the remaining sauce in the pot and bring to the boil. Add the rice, mix gently and cover the pot. Lower the heat to low and cook for 25 minutes, or until the rice is soft and all the liquids absorbed.