Lamb and Lentil Ragout with Cayenne
My mother would call this a real stick-to-your-ribs stew. It's a delicious Tunisian dish, rich, filling and easy to make - the perfect cold-weather meal.
2/3 cup virgin olive oil
1½ pounds boneless lamb neck and shoulder, trimmed of fat and cubed
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus extra for seasoning lamb
1 medium onion, peeled, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups water or chicken stock
1¼ cup dried brown or green lentil, picked over and rinsed
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
In a medium-size, nonreactive casserole, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Brown the lamb and onion together until the onion is soft and golden, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes.
Mix the tomato paste with the water or stock, and add mixture, lentils, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, cayenne and garlic powder to the lamb. Stir and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce heat to very low. Simmer until lamb is very tender, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours.
(Source: Adapted from Real Stew, by Clifford A. Wright)