Lamb stew with potato

Lamb stew with potatoes and Turkish flavours - recipe / A kitchen in Istanbul

One-pot lamb stew with potato and TONS of flavour.

In Norway, lamb and Easter are inextricably linked. Sure, we do the egg thing, too. But the star dinner of Easter weekend should be lamb. Which is no bad idea at all: Norwegian lamb is among the best you can get, up there with Welsh and New Zealand lamb, in my view. Unfortunately, little of it is exported.

For this dish, I’ve taken the lamb and given it a treatment more akin to what Turks do. I wouldn’t call it a Turkish lamb stew, but its inspiration and flavours are part Turkish, part Middle Eastern. If I may say so, it’s like a tastier version of the stuff they serve you at the many esnaf lokantası you find around Turkey, restaurants selling home made fast food.

This stew is simple to make, yet brings out multiple layers of flavour. It’s spiced just enough for the taste of warming spices to come through, but sparingly enough to allow the lamb to remain the star of the show. Perfect at this time of year, whether you’re celebrating Easter or the fact that the cold days are about to be put firmly behind us for a few months!

Lamb stew with potatoes and Turkish flavours - recipe / A kitchen in Istanbul

I use lamb shoulder but leg should work equally well. Whichever it is, do take the time to cut off any excess fat. Clearly, there are worse things in life than the taste of a little lamb fat, but if you leave too much of it the stew may become heavy and even slightly greasy. There’s no need to go over the top, but if your lamb, like most Turkish lamb, is very fatty, do take the time to cut off the largest chunks. If you have them, snap the bones in half and put them in the stew too. They contribute a ton of flavour!

Turks serve stews like this with rice, as do I. I’d also recommend a simple salad, perhaps as a starter rather than side dish. Even if it’s winter, I try to eat fresh salad every day. Try one of these three winter salads, if you like. Serves 3-4 with rice alongside.

Lamb stew with potatoes and Turkish flavours - recipe / A kitchen in Istanbul

Lamb stew with potato

Inspired by Lamb stew with Turkish flavours

Turkish style lamb stew with potatoes - recipe / A kitchen in Istanbul
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  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 700-750 g lean chunks of lamb shoulder or leg
  • 2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut into thin slices
  • 5 dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or thyme (or Turkish kekik, if you have it)
  • 2 tsp Turkish chili flakes (pul biber)
  • 1 tsp urfa pepper (isot biber) (if you have it)
  • 4 tbsp (60 ml) lemon juice
  • lamb bones from which the meat was cut (if you have them), cut into halves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • c. 500 g potatoes, peeled (if you like) and cut into large chunks
  • fresh oregano or thyme (or Turkish kekik), to serve
  • water or stock
  • salt and pepper

My method

  1. Season the meat. Brown half the meat in the olive oil over medium/high heat. Set aside and do the same with the other half of the meat, adding more oil as necessary.
  2. Fry the onion in the same pot until golden, 10-12 minutes, adding more oil as needed. Stir regularly. Add garlic, apricot and spices and continue stirring for 1-2 minutes. Add the lemon juice. Continue stirring until the liquid has more or less evaporated, 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add back the meat (with any juices), any bones (if you have them) and bay leaves. Mix well. Add enough water (or stock) to just cover the meat. Bring to the boil, turn the heat to low and leave to simmer with the lid on until the meat is tender, 1-1.5 hours.
  4. Check for seasoning. Add the potatoes and continue to simmer (this time, lid off) until the potatoes and meat are tender and the liquid has reduced and thickened a little, 20-30 minutes.
  5. Check again for seasoning. Take off the heat and leave for a few minutes before serving. The dish is best served hot rather than piping hot. Garnish with some fresh herbs just before serving.

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