I wrote this post for Manuela at Manusmenu.com while she and her family were traveling around the world, making memories with their children to last a lifetime. I wasn’t traveling but staying at home cooking this really wonderful South American lamb stew. Now, I’ll be honest and admit up front that it might not be South American but it could be.
Recently I went to a local South American restaurant and one of the first small plates we were served was an amazing lamb stew served with yellow rice. Normally when I go to a restaurant, I never finish anything but this dish? I could have licked it clean. I didn’t, but only because the restaurant was full and my mother taught me that it was impolite to lick plates.
I came home and scoured the net for South American lamb stew so I would have a starting point and I found one but it’s not the one from the restaurant. This stew is cooked in a refrito of red onion, green capsicum, chile, garlic and tomatoes along with beer, cloves, allspice and seasoning. To make it even more special, I made some shallot confit roasted in olive oil and tossed them into the stew near the end of the slow cooking which took 8 hours. I didn’t want to toss out that wonderful olive oil so I used some to coat root vegetables and garlic and roasted them.
The recipe called for ground achiote and I couldn’t find any up here in the sunny north so I substituted by tossing in some ground cayenne pepper. I’m sure it would be better with the real deal. I also didn’t have any panela or pilloncillo so I used dark brown sugar instead.
I served this alongside yellow rice. I sauteed an onion in a little bit of butter, added a bit of salt and a teaspoon of turmeric and the kernels from 2 small ears of corn. Then I put rice in the rice cooker and just before it was done, I poured in the onion and corn mixture and a handful of frozen peas. When it was done, I tossed in some chopped coriander (cilantro) and some sliced green onion tops.
As a garnish I peeled and sliced two bananas and fried them in a little butter. I didn’t photograph them because really, have you ever looked at a grilled banana? The taste went so well with the lamb in spite of the look. I cooked it in this wonderful cazuela that I was given by Celia from figjamandlimecordial.com.
- 1 red onion (roughly chopped)
- 2 green capsicum (bell peppers) roughly chopped
- 4 tomatoes roughly chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 1 serrano pepper cut lengthwise with seeds removed
- 1.5 kg (3.5 lbs) Lamb - I used a boneless leg of lamb
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 60 grams dark brown sugar (or use panela or pilloncillo if you can get it)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or ½ teaspoon anchiote powder if you can get it)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 4-5 whole cloves
- 4-5 whole allspice
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 celery stalks (roughly chopped)
- 12 ounces light beer
- 3 cups cooked white rice
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels
- ¼ cup frozen peas
- 1 tablespoon chopped coriander (cilantro)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 green end of a spring onion sliced thinly
- 12 French shallots, peeled ((I cooked heaps so I'd have some for other uses)
- olive oil, enough to cover the shallots
- 2 bananas, peeled and sliced (if the bananas are large, cut them in half lengthwise as well)
- 1½ tablespoons butter
- Cut the lamb into bite size pieces, of about 2.5cm (1 inch)
- Season with salt, ground pepper and ground cumin on all sides. Set aside.
- Add all refrito ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and whiz until you have a smooth puree. Depending upon the size of your food processor, you might need to do this in batches
- Pour the refrito in a large crockpot, and season it with the salt, ground pepper, ground cumin and cayenne pepper and stir to combine.
- Add the seasoned, diced lamb meat to the refrito. Stir to combine. Add the brown sugar, whole cloves, whole allspice, oregano and celery stalks. Stir to combine. Pour the beer over the mixture and stir one last time.
- Cover the crockpot and cook on low for eight hours, or high for four hours.
- Before serving, remove the celery stalks, whole cloves and allspice.
- Serve warm with yellow rice and fried bananas
- Saute the onion in the oil and butter and once the onions begin to turn translucent, add the turmeric and the corn and cook for another minute.
- Cook the rice and just before it's finished add the onion mixture, salt and peas. When the rice is cooked add the coriander and spring onions and serve.
- Preheat oven to 135C / 275F
- Place peeled shallots in the bottom of a roasting dish and cover with olive oil. Roast for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Once cool, toss in the stew near the end of cooking.
- (Save the oil for another use)
- Heat a skillet to medium-high heat and add the butter. When melted add the bananas and cook until golden brown on the bottom and flip and cook the other side the same way.
- You could sprinkle a bit of cinnamon over the top just before serving.
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
Hehe how many times have I wanted to lick a plate but I haven’t! Perhaps one day I will! And it’s likely it will be with a dish like this 😀
Sounds like a great dish with awesome flavors! I like lamb, but rarely cook it, because it takes time. This stew is just perfect, definitely trying it!
“have you ever looked at a grilled banana?”
Maureen, you are priceless!!!!!
well, piloncillo is something that will forever remind me of my Dad. In Portuguese that is called “rapadura”, and my Dad was addicted to it. He would come with a very sharp knife, slice pieces off (a dangerous maneuver, as the stuff is like a rock) – then eat the pieces as candy, much to my Mom’s despair, who insisted it would give him diabetes. 😉
I have achiote paste, too bad you live just a tad too far to stop by and help you out!
I suspect you’ve looked at a grilled banana? 🙂
It may not be authentic South American but it’s making me want to dig into a bowl. Do you serve it over the rice in the same bowl cause it seems pretty loose? 🙂 I think I’d try to find some green plantains/tostones and fry them to serve alongside the stew instead of the bananas though due to texture issues.
Rachel (Rachel's Kitchen NZ) says
Mmmmm – oh delicious – Maureen – perfect warning winter food – I do love lamb and love the sides that you have given here.
Veronica (Roni) says
You are a brave pioneer Maureen.
That’s what we like…when you eat something you love & then come home & try & replicate it!!!
It keeps life interesting for you & those around you :))
PS. I can imagine the banana was the perfect accompaniment.
I don’t know South American food that well so I love this!! Wow, it looks so rich – and I love that yellow rice! And I don’t even know what ground achiote is 😉
My Kitchen Stories says
It looks so delicious Maureen I want to come for dinner x Great dish too
Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch) says
I love trying to recreate recipes I’ve had at restaurants. I’m lucky, I can readily find Achiote paste here in Denver and it’s wonderful. Has an earthy rich flavor. I’d keep trying to find it if I were you.
Hotly Spiced says
It is certainly the weather for lamb stew. It is so wet and cold here in Sydney and apparently this will last all week. I do love the look of your lamb stew and it sounds amazing even with the substituted ingredients. I haven’t cooked much South American cuisine (probably my MIL has put me off) as recipes are difficult to find. Your rice sounds amazing and I often use tumeric to yellow my rice rather than saffron because tumeric is meant to be really good for you and we all should be eating it by the shovel load. On lucky days I can buy fresh tumeric from my local Harris Farm but you have to watch out as it stains your hands xx
Lucy @ Bake Play Smile says
Mmm now this looks like the perfect winter warmer dinner. Gosh you know your spices so well – what delicious flavours!
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
i love lamb, what an incredible stew! I can only imagine how mouthwatering your kitchen smelled! 🙂
I’ve been eating all day and somehow this STILL managed to make me hungry! Your pics are always so good… I love this. Soup is the love of my life :)}
Marilyn Lesniak says
I didn’t start appreciating lamb until quite recently. I thought it was quite greasy until someone other than my mom made it and I tried. Dear old mom, everything was tottal dried out or had a layer of grease solidly on top. I never blamed her as the rule in our house was “dad eats first” and he never got home before 10:00pm. This is one I will keep! Thanks Maureen.
John@Kitchen Riffs says
Although I really, really love medium-rare lamb, I’m becoming convinced it’s at its best when cooked for a long, long time. It just has wonderful flavor and tenderness when braised like this. Anyway, super recipe. And the rice looks outstanding. Thanks.
Nancy | Plus Ate Six says
I don’t even recognise half of the the ingredients you say you couldn’t find so I’m glad you gave alternatives 🙂 It looks and reads like a beautifully rich dish especially after 8 hours of slow cooking.
My sister who lives in New York wrote to me and said the same thing and thought she needed to study up on ingredients. I told her she didn’t have to because I couldn’t find them here anyway.
Tricia @ Saving room for dessert says
It sounds wonderful not matter how long it takes! The broth looks so rich – amazing color!
Joanne T Ferguson says
What a warm and welcoming stew Maureen! With this weather in Adelaide, this would be perfect to experience! Looks delicious!
Lizzy (Good Things) says
If I come to your place for dinner next time, will you make this for me… with one condition… I can lick the plate!
Thalia @ butter and brioche says
I’m not much of a lamb fan but I sure do love the look and colour of the tumeric rice & definitely can see myself making the recipe Maureen!
Caroline @ Shrinking Single says
Mothers have a lot to answer for. I really think plate licking should be allowed with a dish that good! Or at the very least bread provided for sauce mopping up.
Less calories with plate licking 🙂
Eva Taylor says
Slowly cooked lamb with all its tenderness particularly paired with such warming flavours and spices is definitely my kind of meal.
Fran @ G'day Souffle' says
Whoa- I like the idea of those grilled bananas. Your recipe sounds very similar to a Moroccan Lamb dish that I make with the same sort of spices. Looks like South America shares some of the same recipes with the likes of Morroco!
Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic says
I don’t eat lamb that often but this sounds delicious!
Gourmet Getaways says
Ahh, this is really tasty, Maurz! Reminds us of the goodness of goulash! 5 stars!
Julie & Alesah
Gourmet Getaways xx
Dedy@Dentist Chef says
Simply damn delicious!!!
i’m gonna use the mutton offal for this recipe……
Sandra Shaffer says
What a feast! I think slow cookers are one of the best kitchen toys! I love the way meats melt in your mouth after simmering all day. Lots of delicious flavors in this dish. Now I’m starving 😉
Marissa | Pinch and Swirl says
I love this entire meal! We eat a lot of lamb, but I’ve never made stew from it and yours looks perfect. I love all of the spices!
Norma Chang says
Never thought of using turmeric to color my rice, great idea. Love your Confit Shallots will be making as soon as my shallots are ready for harvest.
Everything I want to write has already been said by some one else. Good show. 🙂
Wow! This all looks and sounds fantastic, Maureen. 🙂 I love a good stew, and this sounds amazing.
Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake says
Love a good stew, especially when it’s getting so cold now! Lamb is one of my favourites so this is right up my alley.
The Ninja Baker says
LOL My mother taught me not to lick clean my plate, too. But I can see how your stew would be sorely tempting. Bravo for your ability to replicate restaurant dishes, Maureen! The grilled bananas accompaniment looks like a grrreaat addition…Wondering if you added the oh, so good for you turmeric for health reasons or for taste or both <3
Chineka @ Savor The Baking says
This stew looks delicious and I a bowl would be great right now. Pinning this.
The Ninja Baker says
Okay…Take two on comments. 1. Bravo Maureen for replicating restaurant dishes with such skill! 2. LOL and applause for not licking the plate! (I might have not had such mighty discipline! Tee hee. Only kidding.) 3. It makes great sense that you and Ms Manu are friends…Gourmet cooks hang out in the gourmet circles!
I don’t think I’ve ever made a lamb stew—and Bill is a huge fan of lamb 🙂 VERY chilly start to the day—so wish I had a pot of this warm, comforting dish.
Mary Frances says
What a hearty, mouthwatering lamb stew, Maureen!! I can smell the delicious fragrance all the way from NY!
Katalina @ Peas and Peonies says
I just have to make this for my husband, he will probably marry me again.
I saved this recipe! :))
GiGi Eats says
I just want to ladle this into my mouth!
Gerlinde @sunnycovechef says
Oh man Maureen, this looks absolutely scrumptious. As soon as I am back home I will cook this. The bananas , the confit shallots. I’ll dream about it will I eat airline food, yuck!!!
Gerlinde @sunnycovechef says
Oh man Maureen, this meal looks scrumptious. As soon as I’m back home I will cook this . I can taste all the flavors with the bananas and confit shallots. In the meantime I’m stuck with airline food, yuck!!!!
RunninSrilankan Shashi says
Wait – aren’t there some cultures where it’s polite TO lick A plate clean? If I came and visited and you served me this stew – let’s imagine we belong to THAT culture – whichever one it is – deal? 🙂
This stew looks amazingly thick – it’s almost summer here – but I think I could eat this everyday of summer!
Vicki Bensinger says
I love making stew but honestly haven’t made one with lamb yet – that’s definitely going to change soon. This looks so tasty and with the way our weather has been lately it feels more like fall than spring. I may have to make it this week. Thank you for sharing it.
Katy | Her Cup of Joy says
Wow this lamb stew look so unique. I’ll trade my pancakes for your stew any day! 😉
Anna @ shenANNAgans says
Perfect winter warming fair. Might make this over the weekend, would be a goodun for the freezer. 🙂
This is definitely a dish I would love to make and enjoy. I enjoy South African flavors so much, it’s so similar to what we use. I might have to try this sans the beer, maybe some stock. Would be so perfect with the yellow rice. Aah, I can almost taste everything.
Great one Maureen. xx
Have a great weekend.