“The stew’s made with tender chunks of lamb and dried plums today. Perfect on the bed of wild rice.” These are the thoughts of Hunger Games heroine, Katniss Everdeen, just before her mentor, Haymitch, stuns her with a huge change in training plans. So, is it just me or is there a lot of food talk in this trilogy? I just finished reading the books for the second time as the holidays were wrapping up and man did I always feel hungry afterwards. Who wouldn’t be with descriptions of basil leaf wrapped goat cheese, sun warmed blackberries, each Districts signature bread, and even canned lamb stew being described in between life threatening events?
Inspired by how delicious (and healthy) Katniss’ favorite dish sounded in the books, I decided I would try to re-create my own version of the Capitol’s lamb and dried plum (prune) stew. With all the dreary and wet winter weather that keeps hanging around, there’s nothing like a hot and hearty stew to keep the blues at bay. Besides, I’m obsessed with lamb and happy to find an excuse to splurge on it! Probably one of my last splurges, too, since I’ll likely get a furlough notice in about two weeks. (No worries, I’m sure I can stretch a dollar and continue to make yummy dishes.)
I was extremely happy with how this stew came out. Oh my goodness, the flavor was deliciously rich and layered. I served it over coconut rice, one of my Asian Christmas experiments...I couldn’t stop shoveling it down my throat! It must be the prunes, because all the other ingredients are typical in my usual beef stew and I’ve never experienced this depth of flavor before. Try it out and let me know your thoughts!
Hunger Games Lamb and Prune Stew
- 1 pound lamb stew, cubed
- 2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced large
- 1 medium parsnip, peeled and diced
- 2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into coins
- 1 pound tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 large shallot, sliced thin
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 cup prunes, diced
- 1 tablespoons brown sugar
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Chopped Fresh Parsley for garnish
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil, garlic and shallot over medium heat until shallot is translucent. Add cubes of lamb and saute until nicely browned on the outside. Set aside.
- In a large pot, bring chicken broth, diced tomatoes, red wine, and tomato sauce to a low boil.
- Add parsnips, carrots, and seared lamb mixture to the boiling broth. Cover pot and allow stew to simmer for 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Taste stew and season with brown sugar, salt, and pepper. If a thicker stew is desired, combine cornstarch with equal parts stew broth in a small bowl. Whisk together with a fork and stir into stew.
- Add plums to the stew. Stir and allow to simmer for 10 more minutes.
- Serve piping hot alone or over rice.