Lamb and chickpea stew

Lamb and chickpea stew

I first shared this tasty and incredibly easy lamb and chickpea stew on my Instagram account back in 2019. I made it in a complete rush one afternoon before heading out the door to go indoor rock-climbing with my boyfriend.

Fast forward three years later, the boyfriend is now the husband and I’m writing it up on my own blog.

When we got home after climbing our tiny apartment still had the lingering aromas of cinnamon throughout. Eagerly we reheated the stew and tucked in. It was absolutely delicious, the smell of the spices giving this warm and inviting scent.

Close up of the lamb and chickpea stew.
The bright colours of the dish are delightful too.

The recipe was inspired by one from Olive Magazine. The first thing to go was onions – my body just cannot tolerate them. Honestly, I don’t think you need it – it is still super tasty. At the time I also substituted golden syrup for pomegranate molasses as we didn’t have it in the house. Probably heresy for many, but I really wanted to make this dish and I just couldn’t access that ingredient.

I really like trying new recipes, but I’m usually more motivated when I can use up ingredients in the cupboard. Practising zero waste when it comes to food is difficult at times but immensely satisfying.

Chickpeas

Even though I’ve listed this recipe with tinned chickpeas the first few times I made this dish I actually used dried chickpeas.

I can’t recall why but for whatever reason I owned a 400g bag of dried chickpeas. This was pre-pandemic so it definitely wasn’t due to panic buying.

Determined to use them once and for all I actually rehydrated the entire bag. The other dish I made was a simple Tunisian dish lablabi (or lababe) of stewed chickpeas served with egg and harissa. I haven’t made lablabi since but I keep coming back to this lamb and chickpea stew.

If you do use dried chickpeas you’ll need to do a few things first – it’ll be covered on the label but just to keep in mind.

  1. Soak the chickpeas in water, preferably overnight but at least 10 to 12 hours.
  2. Cook the chickpeas for a good hour and a half or even two hours.

After this you can use them as normal in the recipe.

Rich flavours

In terms of spices this dish has Persian roots. The main spice is cinnamon, followed up by cardamom and cumin. Cumin is my favourite savoury spice. I cant tell you exactly why but I just find it’s scent so delicious.

I’d like to say I can tell the difference between using the pomegranate molasses and the golden syrup but I think I would need two versions of the dish side by side. The molasses, like most concentrated sugary items, will last a long time in the cupboard. And you’ll be coming back to this dish, trust me.

A bowl of lamb and chickpea stew and a bowl of chopped cucumber and pomegranate.
A simple side salad is perfect

Standalone or part of a meal

Most times I’ve had this dish I’ve had a salad on the side, usually cucumber and a few extra pomegranate pieces thrown in. It’s definitely a good idea to have something fresh to crunch on between rich mouthfuls of the stew. Lettuce and a light yoghurt or citrus dressing is also great.

If you want to bulk out the meal plain rice or fresh breads are a great choice. You can have the stew with more or less liquid simply by cooking it covered or uncovered towards the end. A thinner stew is the perfect excuse to dunk in chunks of bread.

Lamb and chickpea stew

A hearty stew of lamb and chickpeas richly spiced with warming cinnamon. This deceptively easy recipe is both gluten free and dairy free.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Persian
Servings 4 serves

Ingredients
  

  • 500 g diced lamb meat
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 whole whole chilli optional – dried or fresh
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 cardamom pods, cracked open or a quarter tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 400 mL chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses see note
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed or about 250g cooked chickpeas

Garnish

  • pomegranate seeds
  • mint leaves

Instructions
 

  • In a medium pot heat oil and fry garlic and chilli for a few moments until it is fragrant. Add the lamb and cook for five minutes, browning the sides.
  • Add all the spices and allow to cook for one minute before adding the stock, tomato puree and molasses / syrup.
  • Cover with a lid and cook for thirty minutes on a medium to low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the chickpeas to the pot and cook for thirty minutes or until the lamb is tender.
  • Once tender season the pot as required (you shouldn't add salt before the chickpeas are cooked!).
  • Serve in bowls with a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds and torn mint leaves.

Notes

Save time by buying diced lamb. Look for lean lamb with minimal fat. 
Save money by buying lamb leg steaks and cutting them yourself. Take care to remove as much fat as possible. 
Servings – you can do this meal with less meat (say 250g) and have it as two servings with a larger portion of chickpeas per person. 
If you don’t have pomegranate molasses use a sweet syrup instead like golden syrup or dark syrup. Pomegranate molasses adds a sweet note with the tanginess of pomegranate and is typical in Persian cooking. You can often find it in supermarkets but it might take a bit of searching. 
Serve this dish as it is or with sides like rice, fresh bread or flat breads. Simple salads like fresh cucumber and mint are a great accompaniment. I also like some yoghurt with fresh mint to complement the rich spices of the stew.
Keyword Chickpeas, lamb, stew

Interested in another chickpea recipe? Check out this hearty chickpea and vegetable stew. The perfect winter warmer – and also great served cold in the summer!


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