With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, how about dinner at home? This Slow Braised Red Wine Lamb Stew with Moroccan Spices is spicy, fragrant and hearty. Elegant comfort food that is perfect any night of the week, or a special occasion.
Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Dine in? Go out? Buy gifts? Or, are you one of many that take it as “just another day”?
February is usually the coldest month of the year. There are a few things that take place during this month. Super Bowl, Family Day (in Canada), usually reading weeks for university and college students. It’s a favourite time of year for many people to travel south.
Valentine’s Day is the big holiday of the month. As soon as the Christmas decorations are down in the stores, Valentine’s paraphernalia appear. From cards to cute stuffed animals, jewellery to fresh cut flowers, and EVERYTHING you can think of in between.
Restaurants plan their special menus, florists order in lots of roses, and chocolate companies get stocked up with delicious treats. What do you do?
CELEBRATING AT HOME
One thing about cooking at home (well there are many things) is that you can experience the tastes of the world without all the travelling. This Slow Braised Red Wine Lamb Stew with Moroccan Spices is a perfect example.
Morocco has some of the most fragrant, delicious, exotic tastes anywhere. Fruits, meats, spices, breads, tea. All so full of flavour, not to mention the aromas they create. The Alhambra Merguez seasoning in this lamb stew is one of those tastes.
Have you ever tried lamb egg rolls? I always have these Roccan Lamb Rolls on hand in the freezer. OMG so freaking good!!
Lamb is such a delicious protein to work with. It can be a little on the expensive side. Using lamb for special occasions is great since cooking at home is ALWAYS cheaper than going out. Plus, you usually have leftovers for another meal.
This stew is braised with wine and wonderful spices. Tender pieces of meat with carrots, potatoes and peas, all surrounded by a thick, delicious gravy. Perfect for dipping your bread in. Simple, but a little exotic, comfort food that is celebration worthy.
Seriously, we don’t go out to celebrate the big day. Most of the time it is in the middle of the week, which is certainly not convenient. Everyone is busy with work, kids, activities. Going out to dinner on a Tuesday night just doesn’t work for most people.
KEEPING IT SIMPLE
As for the reason behind the holiday, that has always seemed odd to me. Why should we dedicate one day to say “I LOVE YOU”? I would much rather have someone tell/show me all year long instead of just one day.
It doesn’t have to be lavish, or even cost money. As much as I love roses, I would rather have my wonderful loving husband wash all the dishes that pile up in the kitchen during recipe testing (and he does).
There are so many ways to show a person how much you care about them. It doesn’t (and shouldn’t) be expressed only one day of the year.
SPENDING TIME TOGETHER
We never go out for dinner on Valentine’s Day. For one thing, it is crowded, especially at any of the good restaurants. Another thing, it is EXPENSIVE to go out to dinner, especially on special occasions. If you have kids, throw in the cost of a sitter, and this special day gets pricey.
Since the holiday usually falls on a weekday, we will celebrate it on a weekend. Last year we spent time in the kitchen making Coq au Vin and Sticky Toffee Pudding. See we travelled to France and the UK in one night!!
Cooking together is fun. If you have kids, turn it into a family affair and get everyone involved. The kid’s are just as hyped about the holiday as everyone else. They have been doing crafts and handing out Spider Man and Frozen Valentine’s to all their friends.
So what will it be, going out or dining in? Cooking together or ordering takeout?
This Slow Braised Red Wine Lamb Stew with Moroccan Spices will be happening in our house for dinner.
If you want to travel to Thailand, give my Green Thai Curry With Beef a try.
Slow Braised Red Wine Lamb Stew with Moroccan Spices
- 2 pounds leg of lamb (trimmed and cut into 1 1/2" chunks)
- 2 tbsp cooking oil (your choice)
- 1 medium onion (diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 2 pounds potatoes (peeled and cubed)
- 8 ounces baby carrots (diagonally cut)
- 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
- 1 can diced tomatoes (28 ounces)
- 2 tsp Alhambra Merguez seasoning
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 300º F.I used a cast iron dutch oven to cook the entire stew in from start to finish. You may choose to use a frying pan and casserole dish.
- Heat the dutch oven over med-high heat (or your frying pan) and 1 tbsp of oil.
- Add the lamb (in a couple of batches) and brown on all sides. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. This should take about 10 minutes.
- When all the meat is done, add the remaining oil to the pot. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the salt, pepper and Merguez seasoning to the pot and mix well.
- Stir in the flour, mix well, and cook for 30 seconds.
- Whisk in the wine. Be sure to scrape up any brown bits, and smooth out any lumps from the flour. Cook for about 2 minutes, just to cook out some of the alcohol.
- Add the water, tomatoes (and juice) and bring to a boil. Stir to make sure there are no lumps.
- Add the lamb, mix, cover and place in the oven for 1 hour.
- Remove from oven and add the carrots and potatoes. Cover and return to oven. Cook for 45 minutes.
- Remove from oven and add the peas. Cover and return to oven. Cook for 30 minutes, or until veggies are nice and tender.
- Pour some wine, slice some bread....get ready to eat!!
- Ladle stew into bowls.ENJOY!!