Introduction: Hunger Games: Katniss' Favorite Lamb and Dried Plum Stew
As soon as I picked up the Hunger Games, I was hooked. I became somewhat fascinated with all of the food that was described in the book, especially the lamb and plum stew that Katniss ate in the Capitol. (as soon as I find the passage, I will post it on here).
Becuase I am going to culinary school right now, I knew I had to try my hand at making this particular dish (especially because I love lamb anyway). I've worked on developing this recipe for a few weeks, ending up with this result.
Step 1: Ingredients
Most of these things are fairly straight-forward and cheap. However, be prepared to shell out a bit of money for the lamb meat, it's quite expensive. I found mine for around $7.50/lb.
2.5lbs lamb meat (you can use any you like. I used leg, because that's what I could find)
1 tbsp sugar
4 smallish-medium carrots
2 large red potatoes
a good handful of pearl onions (about 15-20)
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup flour
1.5-2 quarts beef broth
1 cup dried plums
3/4 cup frozen peas
lamb: debone the meat, and cut off any fat or skin there may be on it. Cut into 1" cubes.
carrots and potatoes: peel and dice. For the carrots, slice them, and cut any slice that is 3/4" or larger in half.
Onions: peel and slice in half.
Plums: cut in half
Step 2: Meat
To start off, heat a little bit of oil in a pot.
Put in the meat (you can cook in multiple batches), making sure it's in one layer (don't overcrowd the pan). Transfer to a holding vessel as it cooks. (I used a large measuring bowl)
Return the meat to the pan. Add the sugar and stir. Cook the meat a bit longer, caramelizing it. Take it back out of the pan. Add some water or red wine to the pan to lift the good brown stuff (called fond) on the bottom of the pan. This is all pure flavor.
Step 3: Vegetables
You can cook all of the vegetables at the same time as I did, but it will cause you to have a bit of annoyance later on (you add the potatoes back into the stew at the very end).
Cook the potatoes in the pot until they are cooked fully and tender. Remove them to a bowl to hold.
Put the carrots and onions in. Cook them until fully cooked and tender.
Add the tomato paste. Stir and cook it until it's a bit darker and aromatic. (This is called "pincéing")
Step 4: Coming Together
Now you get to marry everything together.
Add the meat back in and stir, coating it in the tomato. Sprinkle the flour on top and stir again.
Pour the broth into the pot, adding enough to cover the meat and vegetables (the true amount depends on the size and shape of your pot). Cover with a lid. Turn the heat down to medium-low.
Step 5: Cooking
Cook for around 45mins-1hr, or until the liquid thickens quite a bit. You will need to stir it frequently, because even on low, it will start sticking and scorching.
At this time, add the potatoes and plums in, and keep cooking for around 20mins, stirring frequently.
Heat the peas in the microwave until warm, and stir them into the stew just before you serve it.
Step 6: Serving
As the book describes, serve the stew on a bed of rice (I definitely recommend wild rice).
However, it's just as good just by itself.