Lamb Stew With Israeli Couscous
For the Lamb Stew:
1 1/2 pounds lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
2 carrots, peeled and small dice
1/2 cup yellow onion, small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
11/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 cup red wine
pinch of saffron
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, stems removed, minced
5 cups good quality chicken stock/broth
1 tablespoon molasses
pomegranate seeds, for garnish
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
For the Pearl Couscous:
1 1/2 cup chicken stock/broth
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon saffron
2 teaspoons Extra Virgin olive oil
1 cup Israeli/pearl couscous
For the Lamb Stew: Season the lamb generously with salt and pepper. Place a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. When hot but not smoking, working in batches so the meat is not over crowded, add the lamb and sear for about 8 minutes until brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate and reserve.
Add the second tablespoon of oil and the carrots, sauté till tender, about 3 minutes. Add the onions, garlic, cumin, cayenne, and ginger and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Add the pomegranate juice, wine and saffron and increase the heat to high. Continue cooking until the liquid has reduced to 1/2 cup, about 15 minutes.
Return the seared lamb to the pot including any juices that accumulated on the plate. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat the heat and allow to simmer, covered for 30 minutes. Uncover the stew and cook for 1 hour, skimming the top as needed until the lamb is tender and the liquid has reduced and thickened. Stir in the molasses and season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
For the Israeli Couscous: In a medium saucepan add the chicken stock, salt, saffron and olive oil and bring to a boil. Add the couscous, reduce the heat to low and cook until all the liquid has absorbed, about 8-10 minutes.
To serve, place a generous scoop of couscous in a serving bowl. Top with lamb stew. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley.