A few years ago I tried my first North African dish when I met my fellow food blogger and now good friend Warda over at 64 sq ft Kitchen. She served several wonderful spiced salads (vegetable dished) and a lamb soup called Harira. The Harira was wonderful so wonderful my then 3 year old daughter took the soup from me and ate it up. I have had a few lamb dished at Warda's home and now that I am living in Mexico and I am so far from her I have to try to make these dishes on my own. While mine are not nearly as tasty as Warda's I do think that my ability to cook her Algerian dished are coming along and are in their own right tasty.
For Christmas Eve I wanted to make a lamb dish, I wanted something hardy but flavorful like Warda would make so I followed two of her recipes to come up with a lamb (mutton) stew where I combined her Harira recipe and her Lamb and Vegetable Stew recipe and came up with a great and flavorful dish of my own.
2 pounds boned lamb leg or shoulder
4 onions, halved and each stuck with a clove
5 carrots, quartered
4 potatoes, quartered
4 zucchini, quartered
3 stalks celery, cut into 4 sections each
2 large tomatoes, quartered
2 cups chickpeas
5 to 8 cups water or stock
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cumin
one bunch cilantro, tied
2 tablespoons tomato paste
a pinch saffron
salt and pepper
Cut the lamb into large chunks and brown in a hot pan with some oil. once the meat is brown add in the tomato paste and stir. Add in the vegetables and spices and stir then add in the the water then the rest of the ingredients except the chickpeas. cook stirring occasionally until the carrots are tender, about an hour, adding the chickpeas and removing the cilantro bunch in the last 15 minutes of cooking. I served this with couscous that I made following Warda's directions but with a makeshift couscous steaming pot and pita bread.