To me this like a meal in North Africa. It's homey and exotic at the same time and something special. The mint yogurt is a personal option. This is a make ahead dish (up to two days)and the best side is couscous.
- 1 1⁄2 cups plain yogurt
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1⁄2 cup warm water
- 1⁄4 teaspoon saffron thread, crumbled
- 1 (2 1/2-3 lb) boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (or more)
- 2 onions, thinly sliced (about 1 pound)
- 1 small lemon, ends trimmed, quartered lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise (preferably Meyer)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 cup dried fig, stems trimmed, quartered lengthwise (about 4 ounces)
- 2 1⁄2 cups low sodium chicken broth (or more)
- Set strainer lined with double layer of cheesecloth over medium bowl.
- Place yogurt in strainer; cover and chill 3 to 5 hours to drain.
- Transfer yogurt to small bowl.
- Stir in mint; season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill.).
- Place 1/2 cup warm water and saffron in small bowl; let stand at least 20 minutes to infuse.
- Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat.
- Working in batches, cook lamb until brown on all sides, adding more oil as needed, about 5 minutes per batch.
- Transfer lamb to large bowl.
- Pour all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot (or add 1 tablespoon oil if dry); heat pot over medium heat.
- Add onions; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add lemon, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, and cayenne.
- Stir 1 minute.
- Add saffron mixture; stir, scraping up browned bits.
- Add tomatoes with juice, figs, and lamb with any juices to pot.
- Stir to coat.
- Add 2 1/2 cups broth.
- Bring stew to boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover with lid slightly ajar and simmer until meat is tender, stirring occasionally and adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls as needed if dry, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper (Can be made 2 days ahead.
- Cool slightly.
- Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and chill, skim off any fat.).
- Bring stew to simmer, thinning with more chicken broth if necessary.
- Divide stew among 6 plates; top each serving with dollop of minted yogurt.
oh geeze. This is the BEST stew i have had in a while. Superb.You must try this. Also do your best to find saffron if you dont have it. It gives an aroma all its own. Another substitute for it would be veal shanks or stewing veal. The figs are perfect for it and i normally don't like figs. Update, made this again, it has to be one of the top 10 stews i have ever had.