A holiday recipe for Curried Lamb Stew With Farro, Filberts and Dried Plums

Makes 6 servings

Lamb Stew:

3 1/2 pounds lamb leg meat or stew meat, cubed

1 1/2 tablespoons salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons oil or lard

1 1/2 tablespoons curry (Madras)

1 onion, large dice

3 cloves garlic, slivered

1 peeled carrot, large dice

2 peeled parsnips, large dice

1 1/4 cups lamb stock, beef stock (or beef broth)

1 cup pitted prunes

Farro:

3 cups farro

6 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1/2 cup filberts (hazelnuts), chopped

3 tablespoons chives, minced

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped

1. Season lamb meat with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a medium sized braising pan, add lamb. Cook lamb until browned on all sides. Add in curry, onions, garlic and sauté briefly. Add carrots, parsnips and stock. Stock should cover the stew meat. Add water if needed so liquid covers the meat.

2. Cook covered over low heat at a slow simmer on the top of the stove or in a 325-degree oven for 1 hour. Add prunes. Continue to cook until meat is fork tender, approximately 1 more hour. Check liquid level occasionally during the cooking to be certain that not too much is evaporating. Add water or stock if needed.

3. To prepare the farro. In a medium saucepan, combine farro, stock and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium low heat until farro is soft, a little chewy and liquid is absorbed. Add liquid during cooking if necessary. Stir in filberts (hazelnuts), chives and thyme. Season with salt to taste.

4. Spoon lamb stew over farro and serve immediately.

Cook’s Note: During the braising process, the lamb meat will start out tender, then toughen and eventually become tender again. You will know that it’s done when the meat pulls apart easily with a fork. The liquid should be reduced to a sauce consistency. If the lamb is done but the sauce too thin, you might consider removing the meat and thickening the sauce with a roux.

Variations: Dried apricots or dates with almonds or walnuts would be equally delicious.

From Kären Jurgensen, Seattle Culinary Academy at Seattle Central Community College